While the town of Flint, Michigan endures one of the worst water crises in recent history, brand managers, politicians and celebrities are doing their part
to bring in clean water.
Walmart, Coca-Cola, Nestle and PepsiCo formed a coalition to provide bottled water to the city’s school kids for the entire year. The companies plan to
donate 6.5 millions of bottled water.
Last week, rock band Pearl Jam announced it would donate $300,000 to the United Way of Genesee County and encouraged fans to donate. Detroit rappers Eminem
and Big Sean pledged their financial support as well. Actor Mark Wahlburg and Sean “Diddy” Combs—part owners of a bottled water company—are donating 1
million bottles of water to the cause.
Even Jimmy Fallon stepped up to donate, and challenged his deep-pocketed pals to join him (Rosie O’Donnell took the bait):
Reach an audience of 6 million Ragan and PR Daily readers through event and content sponsorship.
The outpouring helps, but The Atlantic pointed out fact that donations like these are just a Band-Aid:
That these firms are stepping up to deliver water is good news for Flint’s schools and citizens in the immediate term. But a one-time infusion of gallons
of fresh water doesn’t do much to address the systemic failures of government that led to the water crisis in the first place. By making four for-profit
corporations into a de facto public utility, the gift might actually risk making things worse in the long run.
It’s a good PR move for brand managers, celebrities and political figures to take part in causes like this, but not everyone’s relief efforts went quite as
Presidential candidate Ted Cruz focused his bottled water distribution on anti-abortion areas, demonstrating, as one staffer put it, “the pro-life values
of Senator Cruz”: