Found this on Salon.com ("Reebok Escapes Charity"). The "RBK Touchdown Challenge" was Reebok's play last season to give a million dollars to the Boys and Girls Clubs of America if--and this is a big IF, with a capital "F"--their six chosen quarterbacks threw more touchdown passes than any six quarterbacks ever. The magic number? 207. How many did they end up throwing? 113. Ouch! I hope the Boys and Girls wasn't banking on that money. I suspect they weren't but I'll get to that shortly.
Salon's King Kaufman picked up the quarterback sneak from the line of scrimmage and promptly offered to DOUBLE the donation if Boys and Girls won the challenge. He wasn't shocked that he didn't have to pay-up. But he was outraged.
"This is the kind of corporate giving that's so irritating it gives 'giving' a bad name, never mind "corporate", said Kaufman.
I think it's less about bad corporate giving and more about poor execution. First, let me be clear: there is absolutely no excuse for Reebok setting the bar so ludicrously high. That said, if a company came to me with a similar deal--one that included a reasonable chance for a touchdown and a guaranteed field goal--I'd take it in a heartbeat. The publicity alone would be worth it. Yes, cause marketing is about raising money, but exposure can benefit the bottom-line as well. At the very least it gives a cause marketer something else to talk about with a potential corporate partner.
While everyone likes the cha-ching of the cash register, the ring of "Look what we did with Reebok" doesn't sound bad either.