With Cause Efforts, Macy's, Target, Kroger Hope to Amplify Santa's Swagger

December 6, 2016

By Sarah Mahoney

It's no secret that consumers feel intensely charitable throughout December, or that retailers often provide some of the most visible outlets for their seasonal sweetness. But Macy's, Target and Kroger are dialing up their cause-marketing connections to make sure kids everywhere get their fair share from Santa.

Gearing up for its annual Believe Day, scheduled for Dec. 9, Macy's says it is now offering double donations for the Believe letter-writing program, linked to the Make-A-Wish Foundation, with the potential to raise an additional $1 million. (The organization grants wishes to seriously ill children.) People can mail letters to Santa via email or drop them in mailboxes in stores, with each letter triggering a $1 gift.

Separately, the store has also been running a #SantaProject effort online, encouraging people to post photos and videos of themselves explaining why they believe in Santa, as well as posting videos with child developmental experts explaining the importance of belief. The Cincinnati-based retailer's research, conducted by Ipsos, finds that 66% of people with children still at home say it's important to believe in Santa, as well as 54% of U.S. adults, some 44% feel that belief is decreasing. Only 8% think belief is on the rise.

Kroger is also counting on a social-media angle to raise both funds and awareness, using a #PictureYourPlate campaign as part of an effort to raise an additional $3 million for local food banks in its annual Bringing Hope to the Table holiday campaign. For every upload of a photo of an empty dinner plate using the hashtag, the grocer says it will donate an equivalent of 1,000 meals to Feeding America, up to 3.3 million meals. (Kroger is a founding member of Feeding America, the largest hunger-relief group in the U.S.)

At Target, meanwhile, is kicking up its heels to celebrate its 20-year anniversary with St. Jude's Children Research Hospital, including Target House, which has hosted more than 4,500 families since opening in 1999. CEO Brian Cornell and other brass from the Minneapolis-based retailer traveled to the Memphis, Tenn., facility for the Bullseye Bash, which included Nutcracker-inspired performances, in a nod to its current holiday marketing campaign, starring singer John Legend in its version of the Toycracker.

Finding causes that best resonate with key audiences, whether it's Toys R Us' connection to Toys for Tots or Kohl's funding field trips, offer retailers an additional opportunity for brand differentiation at a time when people are looking for easy ways to give. Typically, charities get 31% of their donations between Thanksgiving and New Year's, says a spokesperson for Charity Navigator, "but for some, it's as much as half." About 12% of all giving occurs in the final three days of the year, with New Year's Day the biggest for online giving, she tells Marketing Daily.

Adobe Digital, which surveyed consumers about the most appealing causes in the weeks leading up to Giving Tuesday, says 36% of consumers in its 500-person sample say they typically give to religious organizations, 33% to animal welfare groups, and 33% to humanitarian or disaster relief groups.

Source

"With Cause Efforts, Macy's, Target, Kroger Hope to Amplify Santa's Swagger." MediaPost, 12/6/16.

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