Yesterday, we wrote about Microsoft’s pledge to feed the hungry if you download their web browser. That campaign is misleading, and it really shows when you compare it to another campaign of a similar nature.
Today, while at Facebook’s new headquarters in Palo Alto, we noticed that it too is involved in a campaign to end hunger. But rather than pledging to feed hungry people only if you download something from Facebook, the company is doing it on the down-low, asking its employees to help out, in its own cafeteria.
As you can see in the poster in this post, ShareYourLunch.net asks you to “Share Your Lunch With 20 Children For Just $10.” Right off the bat this is better. First and foremost, rather than trying to tie the number of people being saved into some marketing number (8 for IE8), ShareYourLunch picks a round number that actually makes sense.
Secondly, either ShareYourLunch is getting a worse deal, or they’re being more realistic with their money. While Microsoft’s promotion was saying that $1.15 would provide 8 meals (about $0.14 a meal), this campaign says that $10 will provide 20 meals (about $0.50 a meal). And these meals are for small children, not adults like at least some of Microsoft’s campaign would presumably be for.
Third, rather than claiming it is providing 8 meals to people, when that really just means that it’s sending the charity a set amount of money based on some regulatory guidelines for what a “meal” is (here’s the crux of the statement I got from representatives from Microsoft on the matter: “The USDA defines a meal as 1.28 pounds of food”), ShareYourLunch is actually buying real food. From the site:
We use cash donations to buy healthy foods that are appealing to children, such as fresh produce, granola bars, juice, cereal, tuna and crackers. We have nutritionists on staff to ensure that all food allocations are balanced and meet the minimum food guidelines.
It just seems like Facebook is working towards ending hunger in a much more classy way, that’s not so misleading. That’s not to say that Microsoft’s money pledge isn’t helpful, mostly I just think it’s kind of tacky to tie it into a web browser promotion based on the version number. I guess if there’s ever an IE9, more people will be saved from hunger because they’ll be able to jack up the number of people fed to 9.