Cover Story: Pay it Forward
Toys"R"Us is another retailer that's embraced the idea of cause-marketing across channels. The toy retailer announced in January that it raised $4 million and collected 400,000 toys during its eighth annual online and in-store campaign benefiting the Marine Toys for Tots Foundation during last year's holiday season. Four-time NBA champion Shaquille O'Neal brought some star power to the campaign, which took place in the nine weeks leading up to Christmas Eve. Like he'd done for the past three years, O'Neal readied himself as his holiday alter ego, Shaq-A-Claus, during the Toys for Tots campaign.
To broaden the campaign's digital reach, Toys"R"Us teamed with daily-deal site LivingSocial to spread awareness and encourage monetary donations. LivingSocial's U.S. members were asked to contribute $5 to Toys for Tots, with each individual donation then matched by Toys"R"Us with $5 worth of toys, up to $250,000. Also, Shaq-A-Claus appeared on the company's official Facebook fan pages,Facebook.com/Toysrus and Facebook.com/Babiesrus, to challenge Toys"R"Us' fans to join him in making a difference.
As these successful cause-marketing campaigns show, retailers can do well by doing good for others. By choosing the right causes that fit well with their brand identities and cultures as well as using viral marketing tools like Facebook to promote their campaigns and integrate them across channels, these retailers were able to raise awareness and funds for charities while giving their brands a boost too.
Melissa Campanelli is Editor-in-Chief of Total Retail. She is an industry veteran, having covered all aspects of retail, tech, digital, e-commerce, and marketing over the past 20 years. Melissa is also the co-founder of the Women in Retail Leadership Circle.
Joe Keenan is the executive editor of Total Retail. Joe has more than 10 years experience covering the retail industry, and enjoys profiling innovative companies and people in the space.