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Toys “R” Us rolls out first text-to-give campaign

January 31, 2014

Toys "R" Us taps SMS

Toys “R” Us is supporting the launch of its first text-to-give effort with in-store signage and a dedicated microsite around its campaign for the upcoming 2014 Special Olympics.

The toy retailer is leveraging SMS to not only raise funds but also awareness as part of its support of the 2014 Special Olympics Games. Web and social media are also being used to digitally promote the campaign.

“We are always looking for new ways to engage our customers in the company’s philanthropic efforts, and this is the first time we are implementing a text-to-donate campaign,” said Katie Regner, spokeswoman for Toys “R” Us, Wayne, NJ.

“Donations made through this campaign will help more than 3,500 Special Olympics athletes go for the gold this June at the Special Olympics 2014 USA Games,” she said.

Text-based support

Consumers can participate and donate to the campaign by texting the keyword CHEER to the short code 80888.

A bounce-back message then prompts consumers to reply with YES to submit a $5 donation to the 2014 Special Olympics USA Games.

The donation is then billed to a consumer’s monthly phone bill.

In-store signage supporting the mobile-call-to-action will be placed within Toys “R” Us and Babies “R” Us stores.

SMS is a tried-and-true mobile tactic for marketers when it comes to raising funds, and the in-store signage will likely help cement the campaign into shoppers’ minds.

A mobile call-to-action on the microsite

The 2014 Special Olympics USA Games will take place from June 14 – 21 in New Jersey with more than 3,500 athletes, and the campaign runs from Feb. 1 through June 21.

In addition to the SMS component, Toys “R” Us is also rolling out a microsite at that highlights some of the Special Olympics athletes through an interactive map.

The site also plays up Toys “R” Us’ Toy Guide for Differently-Abled Kids initiative.

A mobile component to the Differently-Abled Kids initiative was rolled out in October and includes a resource list of 25 mobile apps geared for parents of children with special needs (see story).

Toys “R” Us is also using social media to get the word out about its involvement with the 2014 Special Olympics with the #CheerOnAChampion hashtag.

The retailer will profile different athletes on Facebook and Twitter via the hashtag.

Mobile toys
Toys “R” Us has long been one of the brands to embrace mobile the most over the past few years.

Outside of its partnership with the Special Olympics, the toy retailer has tested a number of different mobile tactics, most recently with a Passbook-enabled mobile advertising campaign (see story).

Additionally, the brand ran a voice-activated mobile ad campaign during the holidays to help parents find the perfect gift for their child (see story).

With parents turning to their smartphones and tablets more to access coupons and find deals, expanding mobile into the retailer’s philanthropic efforts is a logical next step for Toys “R” Us.

“Mobile continues to be one of our most rapidly growing channels of consumer engagement, and we will continue to leverage our mobile capabilities in 2014,” Ms. Regner said.

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