Monday, November 23, 2009

Clorox and Toys R Us Take Charitable Programs to their Facebook Pages

Some key elements of a successful social media campaign are engagement, relevance and uniqueness. Two major brands have adopted that philosophy in their latest Facebook Page campaigns. Clorox Clean Up and Toys R Us are reaching out to moms through charitable programs. Although these companies have traditionally been involved in sponsoring clothing drives and donating to children's programs, particularly around the holidays, this is the first year that they are promoting these activities, and incorporating moms' support, on their Facebook pages.

Clorox Clean Up has created an application on their Facebook page where users can nominate a local non-profit program for children. The application, called Bright Future, allows fans to nominate their favorite local non-profit until November 29th. The charities will compete for one of five $10,000 grants and the winning organizations will be featured in People Magazine.

Toys R Us and basketball legend Shaquille O'Neal have been working together on the Toys for Tots holiday drive for several years, and this year, they've expanded the program on Toys R Us' Facebook page. Toys R Us has promised to donate $1 of toys for every new Facebook fan. Once a user becomes a fan, they are encouraged to publish the story to their newsfeed in order encourage friends and family to join the campaign as well. So far, over $25,000 were raised, and Toys R Us' fan count is up to over 350,000.

I think these campaigns are a win-win situation: They promote the brand and corporate social responsibility. What do you think? Should companies use charities as a marketing tool? Comment below.

Monday, November 9, 2009

Rent the Runway: Designer Style Made Affordable

I have been eyeing various incarnations of Herve Leger's bandage dress for over a year now, checking Saks and Net-a-Porter's websites regularly, and trying it on in several boutiques.
And every time, I almost make the purchase, but in the end, I can't justify the $1500 price tag. I had almost given up on my dream of surprising my boyfriend in what is often considered the sexiest dress of the decade, but then I discovered a brilliant solution for fellow recessionistas: Rent the Runway.

Rent the Runway is an invite-only site that enables women to rent a designer dress (labels like Badgley Mischka, Matthew Williamson, and Proenza Schouler) for between $50-$200. I can wear my beloved bandage dress for a full four days for only $150.

According to founders Jenny Fleiss and Jennifer Hyman, being fashionable should be easy: "As fun-loving girls growing up in New York, we observed the latent need for a service like Rent the Runway to accommodate our need for special dresses for all of the special occasions in our lives. Rent the Runway is designed for girls just like us who have many fun events in their lives, but don’t want the guilt or the expense of purchasing so many different outfits. Every girl wants the Carrie Bradshaw closet but who has the space, time, or money to assemble such a collection?"

Rent the Runway allows users to search for dresses by designer, style, and trend. They also categorized dresses by occasions as varied as "girls' night out", "fall wedding", and even the "this is getting serious date". Users unsure of their size can order the same dress in two sizes, and those debating between two (or three) dresses can order a second dress for only $25. Dresses arrive with a pre-paid envelope (like Netflix) and users can chat with the site's stylists for sizing, accessorizing, and other advice. There is even a same-day courier service for those in New York City.

Fleiss and Hyman comment: "Especially with the popularity of Facebook, girls face a social pressure to constantly be on trend and avoid repeating outfits. We ourselves have faced so many times in our lives when we would love to pop into Barney’s to buy the latest Herve mini but can’t justify the purchase. Rent the Runway enables girls to have fun with fashion, reach outside of their comfort zone to experiment with new designers, and expand their wardrobes beyond their wildest dreams!"