Staples partners with Katy Perry for back-to-school effort

Staples has joined forces with Katy Perry to support teachers and education during back-to-school season.

Katy Perry, "Roar"
Katy Perry, "Roar"

FRAMINGHAM, MA: Staples has joined forces with global pop music artist Katy Perry for a philanthropic effort to support teachers and education through the back-to-school season.

The Make Roar Happen initiative focuses on raising money for DonorsChoose.org, a nonprofit that allows people to donate to public school classroom projects. The campaign kicked off Thursday with an event in Los Angeles and will run through September.

In addition to donating $1 million to DonorsChoose.org, Staples will serve as presenting sponsor of the North American leg of Katy Perry’s Prismatic World Tour, which will start June 22 in Raleigh, North Carolina.  

Staples wanted to launch a bold program for the back-to-school season "that would really set them apart from their competition," explained Andrew Bard, director in Burson-Marsteller’s consumer and brand marketing practice and Fan Experience group.

Burson began working with Staples last month and partnered with Y&R Labstore to create the campaign concept.

The concert partnership will allow Staples to directly engage fans because shows are "popular destinations" during the summer, Bard explained.

To build buzz about the initiative and inspire donations, Burson will focus on regional media outreach in each of the markets where Perry’s tour stops, Bard said. The firm will also help facilitate some meetings with the pop star backstage at shows.

Later this month, the brand will kick off a video contest for consumers ages 18 years old and up, during which participants can showcase their creativity and "roar about their educational experiences," Bard said. The winner of the contest will receive a trip to Los Angeles for Perry’s show on September 19, with a chance to meet the singer.

Staples also has an in-store component to the campaign, where customers who spend more than $10 can go online for a chance to win tickets to one of Perry’s concerts. Consumers can donate money to DonorsChoose.org in Staples stores or online.

The brand will shoot a PSA for the effort this week, Bard said.

"Staples has a legacy of celebrating and supporting teachers," said Kirk Saville, VP of global communications at the brand, in an emailed statement. "We felt partnering with an influential artist such as Katy Perry and supporting DonorsChoose.org would provide a powerful message during back-to-school season and an opportunity for customers to participate."

Jason Teitler, chair of Burson’s Fan Experience offering, said the agency’s work with Staples and Katy Perry shows how the group has evolved over the years from mainly sports-focused work to include more entertainment communications campaigns.

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