Last week, we reported how Duracell made a great targeted ad online in the wake of hurricane Sandy that devastated the eastern seaboard (and Cuba, and Puerto Rico) but specifically in New Jersey, Pennsylvania, and New York.
Duracell for its part, then became the battery company associated with heroic deeds, by teaming up with Chevy Silverado to bring mobile power stations to the people who need it most across that tri-state area.
Judging by its Facebook Page, people are grateful. We know the amount of time we spend online in the U.S. is 32 hours per month, not all of it is on Facebook and Twitter. Mobile banking, checking in with loved ones, all of it is something we take for granted. So for Duracell to do this, and so quickly, and with another brand's partnership, is nothing short of inspiring. Especially when it stands in contrast to the post we had last week, about American Apparel's cheap display of borrowed interest for its own gain. In fairness to Adland, we cover all ad-related news, good and bad. But in retrospect, it's hard for me at least to not feel a bit implicit in helping push the hype.
So I want to rectify that a bit by posting the brands that have done amazing things, because some of them might surprise you. See, it wasn't just the so called great brands that did great things. For every
Whole Foods that handed out perishables for free, even the some of the most hated brands in America or at least some that do not enjoy the best customer service reputation stepped up the humanity.
As Business Insider reports, Comcast opened up its Xfinity Wifi service to the area for free. Wells fargo, Citi and TD Bank are waving fees. Target is donating goods, and well as Sears, Home Depot, Walmart, and Walgreen's.
Southern Chain Waffle House has done perhaps the greatest service, by staying open and providing a hot meal.
As The Wall Street Journal noted:
...the Waffle House, which spends almost nothing on advertising, has built a marketing strategy around the goodwill gained from being open when customers are most desperate.
During Hurricane Irene, Waffle House lost power to 22 restaurants in North Carolina, Virginia, Maryland and Delaware. By Wednesday evening, all but one in hard-hit coastal Virginia were back in business.
In the first forty-eight hours of a tragedy, brands can make mistakes. Some of them quite innocent, simply because of not knowing the full situation at hand.
Others however are more than content to piggy back on tragedy for their own gain. They usually end up being the fashion brands. Brooklyn Industries, I want to stress, is not one of those brands. They were quick to send out an email to not only explain that they are directly effected by the storm, but also set themselves apart with something severely lacking in the fashion world today: class.
We can talk about the usual American Apparel-style social media sickness, as well as the other brands who knowingly created their own controversy for a chance at temporary notoriety and hype. They are listed in some of the links above; you can check them out if you wish.
But instead of launching another 'see i told ya so,' attack against these companies or flame their Facebook walls or create #brandnamesucks trending topics all day long, it might be better for us to collectively admit something it took a Superstorm to see:
The brands we often vilify as being big and corporate and horrible were the first to come through in this tragedy. And some of the brands we love, ended up being a pathetic waste of space. It's good to know there were brands you could really rely on in ways you never thought you'd have to, especially when it mattered most.
Speaking of stopping canning beer to instead can water...