Staples goes back to school with its new cause initiative

NEW YORK: Staples kicked off its annual Back-to-School campaign May 1 with the addition of a new cause initiative, DoSomething101. com.

NEW YORK: Staples kicked off its annual Back-to-School campaign May 1 with the addition of a new cause initiative, DoSomething101. com. The retailer partnered with youth-focused, nonprofit DoSomething.org and American Idol winner Jordin Sparks to motivate students on summer vacation to collect school supplies for children in need. Boca Raton-based agency Tilson Communications pitched the partnership with DoSomething.org, after a competitive January review with four other agencies.

Staples hires agencies on a project-by-project basis to assist its internal communications team, said Amy Shanler, Staples' PR director. Tilson has worked on PR projects for Staples since 2004.

The campaign will leverage the use of DoSomething.org's Web site, and focus on online and mobile efforts to directly target Staples' key teenage demographic.

Emphasizing youth empowerment, Staples will provide students with online tools to run their own school supply drives, including statistics and marketing instructions, ranging from posters to social networking links for promotion.

"We're telling people about this campaign on May 1, so students [can] think about what they want to do over the summer," said Shanler. "It's not so much about telling teenagers to come and shop, as to make a difference in their community over the summer."

PSAs and the site will encourage students to deposit donations into collection bins posted in Staples' stores during the months of July and August.

"We've worked with Tilson for several years, and we chose them because they delivered creative and achievable ideas," Shanler said. "They had the vision to see what this [new partnership] could bring to [our annual] campaign."

Tracy Tilson, president of Tilson, said the PR team is working on components of the overall campaign, but will utilize the agency's "entire capabilities and creative elements."

In the past, Staples has received support from Schenkein PR and GolinHarris.

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