Sometimes, co-branding just makes sense – Kraft Lunchables and Oscar Meyer meats, the Ford Explorer Eddie Bauer edition. Other times, it seems like a stretch but ends up working – Callaway Golf and Lamborghini, KFC/Pizza Hut/Taco Bell, the Jetsons and the Flintstones.
But not all co-brandings go swimmingly. Take the DiGiorno Pizza and Nestle Cookies combo box, a product seemingly devoid of cultural connection or self-awareness. The Pizza & Cookies box does come with an unadvertised third ingredient, though: a hearty, nonrefundable conclusion that your life is meaningless and guided entirely by the pursuit of saturated fats.
That aside, the announcement of another partnership upset all kinds of stomachs last week. To support their “Be Out There” initiative to connect children to nature, The National Wildlife Federation (NWF) has decided to team up with Scott’s Miracle-Gro. The co-branding will include the Great American Backyard Campout and Hike & Seek and other adorably named programs.
NWF Ready for its Dark Mark
So what’s the big deal? Well, Miracle-Gro’s goal is to create sweeping green lawns, which are essentially wildlife deserts devoid of ecodiversity. Not to mention Scott’s is owned by Monsanto, makers of RoundUp – a product so universally reviled by the gardening and green movement, breathing its name is tantamount to summoning Voldemort.
Or as Vincent Vizachero puts it, “Scott’s Miracle-Gro’s revenues depend almost entirely on selling consumers products to kill wildlife and destroy wildlife habitat.”
And you know what’s worse? This isn’t the first time NWF has blundered in the co-branding arena. Back in 2000, NWF partnered with BP/Amoco to sell their Endangered Wildlife Friends stuffed animals inside gas stations. Makes it kind of awkward when the same company is responsible for one of the greatest environmental disasters in history…
Know Your Consumers
Ok, DiGiorno. The pizza/cookie thing may just be crazy enough to work. The outrage of a few angry bloggers won’t be enough to stop the average consumer from buying one or two for the convenience or novelty.
But c’mon, NWF. Your base is made up of passionate, cause-oriented people. They plant ecosystems in their backyards and call you to make sure they have ample conditions to facilitate butterfly migrations. And you’re going to let the bad guys from Fern Gully put your logo on their products? Seriously?