We already know that a well-publicized corporate gift can put spit and shoeshine on a tarnished public image; a well-placed one can exert political leverage. But what about companies that use disaster relief as product placement?
Hasbro Toys Inc., a company that just made #10 on the "Ranking of America’s Most Community-Minded Corporations," gave 10,000 of their products and $100,000 to the Red Cross for hurricane relief efforts.
To be fair, New York's Kids in Distressed Situations (KIDS) put out the call last week for "new apparel, blankets, shoes, toys, baby products and books, and is asking for merchandise donations from the industry." Hasbro didn't just step in with its 10,000 toys out of nowhere.
But when CEO Brian Goldner says that Hasbro, Inc. sends out its "heart" to Sandy victims via press release, I am scratching the side of my head off wondering exactly how much the heart of a CEO running a company making an annual $4.29 billion actually costs.
The curiosity got to me. Mergent Online's executive profile on Goldner says he made over $23,153,471 in 2010. The idea of "$100,000" looks great on a press release, but Goldner spends more than that when he sneezes.
Let's imagine for a moment that Hasbro, Inc. donated 10,000 brand new Furbies to the Red Cross. According to Target.com, 2012 versions of these suckers go for $54 retail. If Goldner's heart cost the same amount of money as his total stock awards in 2010, he could have afforded to put 17 times as many Furbies into the hands of youngsters effected by Sandy than he did.
We can't exactly call for new laws to restrict CEO's from painting overly romantic portraits themselves in their press releases, and I'm definitely not one of those "end charitable tax deduction" people. I am, however, interested to see if expressions in the eyes above charitable smiles on faces like Goldner's change if Obama's proposal "to reduce the charitable tax deduction for people who earn more than $250,000 from 35% to 28% of their gifts' value" goes through.