US retailer lets donors choose in Facebook charity campaign

I just spotted this fun video from the American Red Cross encouraging people to vote for them in the “Bullseye Gives” campaign being run on Facebook by US retail chain Target, and it reminded me that I’ve been meaning to mention the campaign since it launched earlier this month.

From May 10th to May 25th, US Facebook users can go to the Target Facebook Page and vote (once daily) for which of the ten charities listed they would like to receive a share of a $3 million donation from the retailer. The charities in the list being the American Red Cross, the National Park Foundation, the Breast Cancer Research Foundation, Operation Gratitude, Feeding America, the Parent Teacher Association, HandsOn Network/Points of Light Institute, the St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital, the Kids In Need Foundation and the Salvation Army. After May 25th the final voting results will be announced and the $3million split between the charities accordingly.

It’s classic viral marketing stuff – authentic, very simple and highly ‘share-able’.

And, of course, the power of it being on a social network like Facebook is that each time someone votes they can also publish that vote on their Facebook feed so all their friends see it – and so the reach of the campaign grows and grows, without the need for lots of forwarding of intrusive emails to your friends.

Apparently Target has been giving 5% of its income to charities since 1946 – which now adds-up to $3 million a week. But this campaign clearly represents an excellent new way to spread the positive brand impact of this long standing philanthropy and attract massive new numbers of fans to the brand’s Facebook Page – currently standing at 322,916.

It’s also a far cry from the Facebook promotional tactics that Target got accused of back in 2007. When it was criticised for encouraging members of its ‘Target Rounders’ word of mouth marketing programme for students not to mention their association with the brand when posting positive comments on the newly launched Facebook page.

Looking down the comments on the Target page today, the vast majority are highly positive – presumably without any form of encouragement other than the great opportunity being offered to help raise funds for a preferred charity. So, the shift to an authentic and honest reason to enthuse about the brand looks like a good lesson learned by Target’s marketing people – and it’ll be interesting to see if they roll-out the campaign beyond May as an ongoing part of their CSR programme.

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