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I Pledge to do my best

September 13, 2010

When challenged to find a good example of public relations actually forming a relationship with the public rather than generating “spin,” I found it difficult to find something in today’s headlines.  It seems like everything has to do with crisis management rather than relationship building but I finally found something that gave me hope.

I saw a commercial from SC Johnson that seemed to utilize the relatively new concept of IMC by advertising their product but also showing their positive impact on the community.  Sure, it was a commercial so its main purpose was to sell SC Johnson’s products but the message they incorporated was that of environmental responsibility and a family commitment to quality.  The ad explained how the company was founded, and continues to be run, by members of the Johnson family (it even included old family photos).  The current chairman and CEO, Fisk Johnson, then came on the screen to let viewers know about the Johnson family’s commitment to protecting the environment and our natural resources.  Throughout that entire ad, I think I only saw one or two products actually shown – the concentration was on the family and conservation efforts.  Talk about building a relationship!  In a day and age where even my 80-year old dad is starting to worry about the environment, SC Johnson sure knew how to pull at the heartstrings and get people to say “Man, they’re really pulling out the stops to make a difference.  What a great family and company!”  It even made me, a hardened anti-cleaner, want to grab a bottle of Pledge and start dusting, just so I could be doing my part in helping a company of that size continue to save the world.

Obviously, some of what I’m saying is very tongue-in-cheek (nothing will ever make me want to dust!) but the bottom line is that the Johnson family knew what they needed to do to build a relationship with the picky consumer of today and they did it.  People will inevitably trust a company still run by a family member, even after 100+ years, over a big corporate machine, especially when the family company is promising to make the world a better place for our own families.

Unfortunately, I can’t find a clip of the actual ad that I saw but I did find another one that is fairly similar:

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