Charitable endeavors are to be admired and applauded, don’t get us wrong. But there’s a difference between doing good for the sake of doing good, and doing good to increase their fan base/market share.
That’s the dilemma facing folks who both want to do good but also gain audience for it at the same time.
Scruff, the anti-Grindr smartphone hookup app, just announced that they’ll donate ad space to nonprofits to help get the word out to horny guys everywhere that there’s more to life than your next “date.” Great. We love the plan, guys. Honestly.
But when you call the program “BenevolAds (trademark)” and release a self-congratulatory video with a certain “yay, me” sort of tone it does raise questions about your motive.
As Scruff puts it:
- “…Scruff has come forward with an incredible solution for the smaller, local efforts.”
- “We’re looking for partners around the world who want to help take advantage of this philanthropic endeavor.”
- “Join us and the rest of the Scruff community in making a difference today.”
On the one hand, Scruff is doing a great thing here and don’t want to minimize anyone’s effort to positively affect local communities. There are too few people who give a damn in the first place.
There’s just a slight whiff of “brand management” — you can almost hear the conversation that took place when they came up with “BenevolAds.”
Here’s the video of founder Johnny Skandros & “activist and fundraiser” Jake Mackenroth introducing the exciting, philanthropic, groundbreaking program:
But this is not just Scruff’s problem. Another example is the ice bucket challenge. Donating money and spreading the word about a debilitating disease? Great. Stripping completely naked so the world can ogle you yet again and blasting it across social media? Not as great.
When Dan Osborn stripped to his birthday suit to take the ice bucket challenge, he says, “I’m going to do it naked just to do something different.” No, Dan. You did it naked so that the maximum level of public attention would go to you, your package, and your charitable spirit. He runs from the chair after being doused in chilly water, baring his ass in what was surely a planned maneuver, exposing his narcissism along with it.