I’m not much of a fan of advertising, by and large I’m against marketing. I struggle with the balance between making sure things are known about and much of the manipulation that goes on in marketing today. I want to know when a product I’m excited about is being released, and I always enjoy a funny commercial. But, ads are designed to capture (and steer) your emotions. I fear that having so many ads telling us that our lives are deficient (until of course we buy their product) has a negative psychological impact on us. And of course the products never deliver what the ad promises implicitly or explicitly (I’ve never enjoyed Herbal Essence shampoo as much as the people in the commercials). And I’ve been amazed that the message has gone from implicit to explicit. The, “buy our product and you will be happy” message used to be implicit, but with the recession all that has changed. Walmart – Save Money Live Better, Best Buy – Buy Happy, and the list goes on.

In a world where many businesses are solely about the bottom line, so much so to the point of down right being unethical, there has also been what is for me a welcomed trend. There have been businesses springing up that aren’t simply about making money, but also making the world a better place. For example, when you buy a pair of Tom’s Shoes a child in a third world country gets a pair as well. This mindset has begun to spill over onto marketing strategies.

I recently discovered HotelsCombined.com who is doing something I think is a stroke of creative genius. Instead of spending their money on a traditional marketing campaign they are donating that money to charities. So, I join their facebook page then write on their wall where I want their donation to go, or post a tweet that contains HotelsCombined.com in it, or I do a blog post like this and send them an email to make them aware of it, and they send a donation to the charity of my choice.

As you may know, I’m trying to raise money to build a well in Africa for my 30th birthday, so I’ve begun the Herston 30 for 30 campaign. The idea is that I invite friends to share in my 30th birthday by giving $30 to blood water mission with Herston 30 for 30 in the comments box. So, I have facebook, I have tweeted, and now I have blogged, and they should be sending $35 to Blood Water Mission on my behalf.

I know very little about this company. I haven’t used their service (although I did do a quick hotel search on their site and found some pretty good prices). I can’t vouch for them beyond what I think is a brilliant marketing campaign. But, for me that is enough to give them a try next time I’m shopping for a hotel. I just find it inspiring to see a company think beyond traditional marketing and use that money to support good causes. If you would like to have them donate to your cause go to http://www.hotelscombined.com/Charity.aspx

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