Dawn: 1 Bottle = $1 to Save Wildlife?

[See update at end of this post.] When P&G started advertising several months ago that it would give $1 to wildlife conservation organizations for every bottle of Dawn dishwashing liquid, little did they know the relevance that ad would have today. Pictures like this on the evening news have to disturb everyone:

With images like this, no wonder P&G seems to have stepped up its advertising of Dawn and its wildlife connection. (Dawn is often said to be used to remove oily slicks from birds.) Here is the full-page ad that appeared in the June 6, 2010 issue of Parade magazine:

If you didn’t read the fine print, you might have assumed that P&G was giving one dollar to these causes for every bottle of Dawn sold.


*Up to $500,000. Must visit dawnsaveswildlife.com to activate donation.

It is not unusual for these charitable promotions to have a cap, but it is more novel to require the purchaser to register their bottle of dishwashing liquid online to trigger the actual donation. (Each bottle has a unique code number.)

When one visits the referenced website, however, you learn that the contribution cap has already been reached.


“Dawn has reached its goal! Thanks to thousands and thousands of Everyday Wildlife Champions like you, Dawn has successfully reached its $500,000 donation goal to the MMC and IBRRC wildlife conservation organizations—and far ahead of schedule.”

While the Parade ad was certainly placed in advance, that doesn’t excuse P&G from continuing to air television commercials (as it did this past weekend) or if it takes out additional ads promoting the $1 donation, which has already ended.  By continuing to advertise that P&G is going to give a dollar to these wildlife efforts, the company will be encouraging people to go out and buy Dawn under the false impression that that small act will result in more money going to save these poor birds when in fact it won’t.

July 2, 2010 UPDATE:

P&G contacted Mouse Print* on July first to indicate that a website glitch last month made it appear that it had already reached its goal of donating $500,000. The company said that not only was the goal not reached, but that it is extending the promotion until mid-2011, and doubling the maximum amount it will contribute. Here is their statement:

“There was a small glitch with our website that falsely announced that we had reached our goal last month. That was quickly fixed and consumers were able to activate their donations shortly afterwards. In fact, Dawn has been so inspired by the passion of the Everyday Wildlife Champions that we’ve decided to extend the program until July 2011 and increase our donation goal to $1,000,000.”

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15 thoughts on “Dawn: 1 Bottle = $1 to Save Wildlife?”

  1. HA, I thought so, saw this commercial last night and was going to research it today. Guess I don’t have to now! *Sneers at evil corporations*

  2. I always hate these product/charity links. If I want to donate to a cause, I’ll donate directly.

  3. I read this ad, I thought it was suspicious, but I didn’t read the fineprint. What stinkers they are! The gall that they have, for continuing the ad, even though they reached their goal!

  4. Add to the fact that you actually had to visit a website for your donation to be counted.

    How many people thought that buying the product was sufficient. Kind of reminds me of the KFC/Komen pink buckets promotion (discussed several weeks ago).

    If the total donation has been reached, then P&G is taking advantage of the situation.

    Maybe in their “good” corporate heart, they will change the total amount donated. Then, they will have something to advertise. The scope of the BP spill/leak is immense. There will be plenty of Dawn used on birds.

  5. that is downright wrong! I had not seen the add but had I seen it I would never have thought I had to register my dish soap in order to activate a donation.

    I also do not like the product/charity link. If you want to donate and help out in the gulf there are plenty of other outlets to donate directly. And please do so, even small donations add up and the animals are dying down there.

  6. I just went on the website and it says that $423,993 had been donate thus far. Where did you see that they had reached their goal? (I’m writing a book about these types of campaigns and how deceptive they are so I want to be accurate in my information.)

    • Edgar replies:


      Their site on Sunday said just what was quoted in the story above, verbatim. Maybe 70,000 people returned bottles of Dawn? See screen capture added above of what their site said on June 6.

  7. Make you start to wonder if there is now an even deeper rip off happening? Did they actually reach their goal the first time or just say they hit it so they wouldn’t have to send more money? Or did they just roll it back now to save face since it has been brought into the limelight that they are still advertising for something that was complete? hummmmm…

  8. I have to agree with Just-Gerald…

    Are they doing 500,000 in a donation, or more than 500,000 in a donation???

  9. I work for the media department at a college and just like ads in print, television ads have to be submitted in advanced (and paid for).

    As far as other donations, according to a news story done on NBC’s national news last week, Dawn has donated 250 cases (6,000 bottles) of their dish detergent to the wildlife rescues trying to help oil-covered animals.

  10. Visited site on 16 June 2010 @ 1:17 P.M. CST. Total was still less than
    $500,000.00. What’s up?

    Edgar replies: If you see the comments above, for some inexplicable reason, P&G pulled the “we’ve given all the money away already page” and substituted “we haven’t reach our goal yet” page. I too would love to know why. (A reporter friend is asking them.)

  11. It used to amaze me at how some can paint the giving others do, in a bad light. Not anymore. There is always someone that thinks someone else didn’t do enough, didn’t give enough, didn’t do something enough. ENOUGH already. They (P&G) are giving quite a bit to help out. Look in the mirror. How much did you give?

  12. “I also do not like the product/charity link. If you want to donate and help out in the gulf there are plenty of other outlets to donate directly.”

    Please be more understanding. Yes, even a dollar may help, but some of us are living on below poverty wages and have dependents to support.

    I like knowing something that I have to have anyway will help a cause I could not spare even a dollar for without feeling guilty about depriving my child and extra orange or apple.

  13. I have been buying thinking that was all I had to do, I didn’t know you had to register each bottle. I feel kind of dumb.

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