In case you’ve recently bought a Dell computer, pat yourself on the back. Not only have you bought a fine piece of hardware that, by historical standards, is amazingly cheap, but you’ve contributed to bettering society. No, really. Didn’t you hear that when it wasn’t busy selling PCs, Dell was the salvation of the human race?
At least, that’s what Dell’s marketing chiefs, past and present, seem to believe. “Purpose isn’t just good for the soul; it’s good for the bottom line,” announced CMO Erin Nelson, who spoke at the Association of National Advertisers’ “Masters of Marketing” conference in Orlando, Fla., this past week.
Nelson imparted that feel-good wisdom on her way out the door, literally. She’d decided to leave Dell roughly a month before the event. But not to worry. Incoming CMO Karen Quintos seemed to have been cc’d on the same talking points.
Perhaps this talk of socially responsible branding is just a warm-and-fuzzy outgrowth of the global economy—but it was hardly isolated to the Dell duo.
Many speakers managed to conflate marketing with missionary work. Procter & Gamble CMO Marc Pritchard showed a short film outlining how the company brought Always Ultra feminine hygiene pads to young teen girls in Nigeria. Coca-Cola CMO/chief commercial officer Joseph Tripodi rolled another reel admonishing young consumers to recycle.
Remember when marketers used to, y’know, market stuff? Well, now they’ve doing God’s work. They’ve got purpose. Why the sudden shift to the noble and meaningful?
Find out at Brandweek.