My kids have a couple of days off school very soon, and so we decided to take a brief trip to Charleston. During my planning, I was reminded about a very clever billboard campaign for Outhouse Springs bottled water that we encountered while we were there several years ago. Yes, it was a real product, and yes, it was more than just a gimmick.
The billboards were hilarious, if (pardon the pun) a bit tasteless. But they did what they were intended to do: sell bottled water at a local supermarket chain in order to raise money to help save the deteriorating Morris Island lighthouse.
I won’t go into all the details, but if you’re interested in how a ploy to sell ad space on billboards ended up selling truckloads of bottled water, you can read about it here. The important thing to me is that marketing doesn’t always have to be about how to sell as many widgets as possible. There are many opportunities to help the homeless, ease suffering, promote the arts, or, yes, rescue a lighthouse.
Like most agencies, from time to time VantagePoint lends marketing help to non-profits such as March of Dimes, Kids Care and Miracle Hill. In fact, last year’s billboard campaign for Miracle Hill was recently honored with several awards at the BMA Carolinas Pro Ad competition.
And sometimes we just roll up our sleeves and get our hands dirty with other charities or groups like Habitat for Humanity. (Our senior interactive developer sustained a nice gash while wielding a sledgehammer on a stubborn toilet in a house we helped renovate for a local substance abuse treatment program.)
The bottom line is this: I feel it’s just as important to make a difference as it is to make a profit. (And somewhere, I think I still have a bottle of Outhouse Springs water stored away.)