While taking a little time off from Xerox here in the sunny, southern California desert, I took note of something that I rarely, if ever, pay attention to in the Bay Area – billboards.
Maybe it’s the monotony of the drive along interstate 10, the stark contrast with the arid landscape, or the sheer number of them, but billboards seem to stick out here in the desert. The vast majority target consumers with messages inviting them to gamble at local casinos, stay at swanky resorts, shop at outlet stores in Cabazon, invest in gold, refinance mortgages, and avoid bankruptcy problems.
One set of billboards piqued my interest. Rather than demands to buy a particular brand or service, these billboards feature an interesting, sometimes historical figure – ranging from the Dali Lama, Jackie Robinson, and Kermit the Frog – and an inspirational message like “Live Your Dreams”, “Courage”, or “Work for Peace.” The only message is to “Pass It On,” along with a nondescript reference to a Web site called www.values.com
I wondered what this was all about. Who would spend tens of thousands of dollars on physical advertising to simply extol the virtues of, well, virtues? So I looked up the site and found the homepage for the Foundation for a Better Life, which is (according to Wikipedia) an organization founded in 2000 to promote positive behavioral values.
Funded through a trust established by billionaire Phillip Anschutz, this foundation creates public service campaigns to communicate values such as honesty, caring, optimism, hard work, and helping others. It does this through television, outdoor advertising, theatre, radio, and the Internet. It focuses exclusively on public service media and all media is donated (hence no one spends thousands, as I first thought.)
Why do they do this? Their Web site simply says, “We want the stories we share about the positive actions and values of others to serve as inspiration for someone to do one thing a little better, and then pass on that inspiration. A few individuals living values-based lives will collectively make the world a better place.”
I thought this was a lovely and relevant sentiment during the holidays, so I wanted to pass it along to you. I think values.com should also give B2B marketers inspiration to think about corporate responsibility and how you can help to pass the positive aspects of your corporate culture and mission onto your clients, partners, and community.
Peace on earth, everyone.