The dilemma of Virtue signaling or cause-related promotions?

Are large advertisers guilty of running with the hares and hunting with the hounds? Over the last few days, the Indian marketing world at large has been going ga-ga over a chocolate brand that used a high profile celebrity to advocate the cause of buying from small businesses. Another financial services organisation also did pretty much the same.

While the intent of these ads is laudable, one cannot but ask the question –are these very organisations practicing what they preach on their own turf?

Take the case of the chocolate major. While the big celebrity might advocate shopping from your neighborhood retailer, will any consumer in their right frame of mind, ever want to want to sacrifice a good deal and a home delivery and opt for paying full price at the retail outlet next door? Just because a chocolate major and a celebrity told you so.

For example, in the chocolate major’s case, its own chocolates retail retail for anywhere between 10 per cent to 30 per cent discount on large e-commerce portals? Will the mom and pop grocer next door give you the same deal and not sell at full MRP?

It is one thing to preach to the world. It is completely another thing to take care of your own backyard. To keep it in flavor of the festive season, this is akin to shining a kandeel to the world, when your own home is plunged in darkness.

Is this selfless service or virtue signaling? Let the consumer decide. After all, like a wise man in advertising once said, the consumer is not a moron.

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