I just watched a very catchy commercial with a seemingly compassionate undertone called “Get a shot, Give a Shot” from Walgreens (turns out last year they ran a similar campaign called ‘Shot at Life’), and if you check out twitter #GiveAShot you find a lot of moms and pediatricians promoting this campaign. Yet if you pause for two seconds and really think about it, this is a sad statement on our American culture’s understanding of compassion:
We want to look like we care about poor people, but only if it gets us something in return.
Walgreen’s is trying to leverage your compassionate heart (since do-good-ism is our current marketing strategy) to get you to spend money with them. They don’t care about helping developing countries, they care about driving traffic through their doors.
If you read their website regarding this program you learn that Walgreens will donate to a shot through Shot@Life for every vaccine you have done with them so that potentially 3 million kids can get life saving shots…but only if you help.
Sounds kind, compassionate and caring–A great campaign to support…right?
Also, this makes you feel good about your kids crying after they get their shot. Everyone feels good cause some poor kids are going to get the same shot, but only because you generated this generous “donation” from Walgreens.
But really Walgreens is saying that they will not use their $2.5 billion of net earnings in 2013 to cover the children in desperate need. Or even more dramatically, they are not willing to help at all unless you increase their bottom-line in the process. Or, that last year they sold 8.5 million shots but partnered with UNICEF to send only 3 million shots…hmm GetAShot and maybe your shot will help someone else.
Let’s do some math based on this graphic from Shots@Life and stat that 1.7million kids dies of preventable diseases each year
$5×1,700,000=.34% of Walgreens 2013 Net Earnings
Pneumonia and Diarrhea
$15×1,700,000=1.02% of Walgreens 2013 Net Earnings
LIFETIME IMMUNITY from all three
$20×1,700,000=1.36% of Walgreens 2013 Net Earnings
I know what you are thinking. Well how can you find the 1,700,000 who will die this year. Well to vaccine EVERY unvaccinated child in the world would take 17% of last years profits; bold investment but spread that over 5 years they could end this entire epidemic by not sending the money to their advertising firm but directly to Shot@Life. But something tells me it is more complex than this. But it is a darn good way to make people feel good about spending money at Walgreens.
Is this the only way we will actually raise up and help those in desperate need? As long as we continue living our normal lives, and they might get some secondary benefit.
***Oh, by the way after doing all this math, I discovered their fine print. Walgreens caps their compassion at $1,000,000. So they are willing to cover 50,000 kids and let the other 1,650,000 get these deadly diseases even if your kid gets a red bandaid.