Sunday, May 1, 2016

Toys "R" Us & Alex's Lemonade Stand: Fighting Pediatric Cancer

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Alexandra Scott was diagnosed with neuroblastoma at the age of one. After four years of fighting the disease, her tenacious spirit led her to create her own lemonade stand to raise money and help other children with pediatric cancer. The project began as an annual event on her family's front lawn, raising over a million dollars for the cause over a four-year span, until Scott tragically passed away at the age of eight. Her parents built on their daughter's dream by creating the nonprofit Alex's Lemonade Stand Foundation for Childhood Cancer in hopes of assisting children suffering from the disease through raising funds for research, treatments, and cures. ALSF has certainly reached its goal since its conception in 2005, raising over a hundred million dollars for research projects, travel programs for families of kids receiving treatment, and other vital resources including a children's book to help promote awareness and understanding of cancer and its effects.

Toys "R" Us began its partnership with ALSF in 2011, and its campaign continues to occur on an annual basis. Over the past five years, the company has raised both funds and awareness through various in-store and online campaigns, the most memorable of which include the utilization of the Twitter hashtag #Stir4ACure and in-store lemonade stands run by volunteers young and old. The social media aspect works to target parents while the in-store events mainly engage kids, and these two halves of the campaign work in tandem to ensure every member of the family can get involved.

Through this partnership, Toys "R" Us affirmed its commitment to children and made an incredible difference in the world. The company raised over three million dollars in the first year alone, marking the first time a corporate partner of ALSF exceeded one million dollars in annually raised funds. I would suggest that Toys "R" Us continue this trend of using its status as one of the nation's leading toy stores to raise awareness for other child-centric charities, but it already has; its past and present partners include Save the Children, Toys for Tots, the American Society for Deaf Children, Make a Wish, and the Special Olympics, among others. This campaign in particular, however, is a perfect example of great cause marketing: the two entities' target audiences overlap, their interactive tactics for marketing this charity to their customers are meaningful, and their alignment with the foundation reinforces the brand's message of dedication to children.

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