Back-to-School Returns Back-to-Cause

A few years ago, we reported on the lack of cause marketing efforts in back-to-school campaigns, but we're happy to report cause is back - and bigger than ever.

Target's game-changing announcement made a huge splash during the Olympics with its uplifting and emotional college acceptance commercial, which revealed the company is on track to raise a massive $1 billion for K-12 education by 2015. To help achieve this goal, Target recently launched the new back-to-school cause marketing campaign, "Give with Target." The program came to life through a dedicated Facebook page, which allowed consumers to vote for their local schools. For every 25 votes received for one school, Targeted donated a $25 gift card. The campaign went viral as the Facebook app allowed consumers to search in their areas to see how their local schools were faring against the competition, then, reach out to their social networks to encourage additional votes. "Give with Target" was so successful, the company has already met its $2.5 million giveaway goal and voting has closed in advance of the September 8 deadline. In addition to the consumer-activated Facebook element, Target is giving another $2.5 million to in-need K-12 schools through Target grants.

Here's a sampling of other back-to-school cause marketing campaigns we've seen:

  • jcpenney is expanding its "JCP Cares" program to include a back-to-school component that has perks for consumers and causes. The company is offering free haircuts for K-6 students during the month of August, and with each haircut, jcpenney will donate $1 to either the Boys & Girls Clubs of America or 4-H.
  • The Walmart Foundation is ready to feed hungry back-to-school students with its newly expanded "Breakfast in the Classroom" program, which will provide in-classroom breakfast to more than 70,000 students in 15 school districts.
  • Office Depot has partnered with the Born This Way Foundation to launch the "We Supply Kindness" campaign. The company has produced a line of limited-edition products featuring inspirational messages. Twenty-five percent of the sales price of each product will go to support the Born This Way Foundation to empower youth and inspire bravery and kindness.

Have you seen back-to-school marketing for a good cause? Tell us on Twitter using #WDYSF.

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