Editorial: Qwest cuts are covertly caring

Efforts by companies to highlight their corporate philanthropy have never been more visible. Philip Morris has been plundering its advertising war chest over the past month, reminding consumers of its arts sponsorship programs and how its employees take part in community affairs activities.

Efforts by companies to highlight their corporate philanthropy have never been more visible. Philip Morris has been plundering its advertising war chest over the past month, reminding consumers of its arts sponsorship programs and how its employees take part in community affairs activities.

Efforts by companies to highlight their corporate philanthropy have never been more visible. Philip Morris has been plundering its advertising war chest over the past month, reminding consumers of its arts sponsorship programs and how its employees take part in community affairs activities.

All the stranger then, to hear of Qwest's decision to slash its community and sponsorship affiliations (Page 19).

But on a closer look there is an interesting wisdom to its strategy.

After merging with US West in the summer, the new company realized that it had inherited 180 charitable commitments - a ridiculously high total, and too many to be adding any strategic benefit to Qwest. Choosing a limited number of causes to support, a move made by fellow telecom company Sprint last month, means more consumers are likely to be aware of why the company has linked itself with them.

But more importantly, stung by accusations of poor service, Qwest decided its money would be better spent in that direction. The bottom line is that if you are a consumer unable to make a call, you are going to be distinctly unimpressed with the telephone company giving its money to charity. Corporate philanthropy can only ever be the icing on the company cake. If you haven't got the cake right, don't even think about the icing.





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