Good cause and effect

Rounding up eight A-list celebs like Salma Hayek, Christina Aguilera and Cindy Crawford is a sure-fire way to get attention for any campaign. Throw in a good cause, and you've got marketing gold.

Rounding up eight A-list celebs like Salma Hayek, Christina Aguilera and Cindy Crawford is a sure-fire way to get attention for any campaign. Throw in a good cause, and you’ve got marketing gold.

Montreal-based footwear chain ALDO has done just that by teaming up with Washington, D.C.-based YouthAIDS, a non-profit group dedicated to raising awareness about the HIV/AIDS pandemic. The primary target is teens and twentysomethings who weren’t exposed to the multitude of awareness campaigns during the AIDS scare of the ’80s.

The celebrities used were chosen based on their diverse appeal. ‘We want to talk to young people in a way that’s going to break through,’ says Robert Hoppenheim, ALDO’s GM of branding and

strategic development.

And break through it did. They got the message

out with print, OOH, POS and an online execution at

www.youthaids-aldo.org that directs people to support the cause by buying ‘Empowerment Tags,’ which are dogtags sold at ALDO stores in 20 countries around the world.

Within the first two weeks of its August launch, 50,000 tags were sold, far exceeding everyone’s expectations. Hoppenheim credits the grassroots buzz surrounding the campaign, which has been augmented with a deluge of press, including coverage on Entertainment Tonight, Fox News, in GQ, Flare, Glamour UK, and even on multiple German TV shows – even though the campaign isn’t running in Germany.

New York-based agency Kraftworks handled the creative, while Toronto-based Media Experts secured the media buys. All of the celebrities, as well as photographer Peter Lindbergh, donated their time.