Macy’s Making an Impact with Cause Marketing

Macy’s may be seeing a lull in 2009 sales figures, but the general merchant does believe its cause marketing efforts are helping to make a difference for nonprofit organizations.

Speaking Sept. 22 at the Annual Summit at Mandalay BayResort and Casino in Las Vegas, president/CEO Terry Lundgren said Macy’s has raised more than $18 million for various causes since last holiday season.

That does not included undisclosed dollar figures for its latest cause marketing campaign, “Come Together,” a star-studded campaign that Lundgren said has a goal of alleviating hunger in the U.S.

The initiative is one that hits home with many Macy’s employees, Lundgren said. That’s why retailer decided to tie the campaign in with its annual Shop for a Cause program, which helps an individual Macy’s store’s local charity of choice.

“People in suits and career apparel are showing up in food banks, and pounding the pavement looking for jobs,” Lundgren said, referring to the economic recession and an unemployment rate nearing 10%. “We learned that the food lines are growing by 30% in America.”

The company is promoting Come Together through a microsite (, 30- and 60-second television spots, and in-store displays. The cause is being pitched by celebrities who have product lines at Macy’s, including Martha Stewart, Jessica Simpson, Queen Latifa, and Emeril Lagasse; it has a target of providing 10 million meals for the hungry.

The star-power may be helping Macy’s reach its goal: As of last week–just two weeks into the campaign–the program had raised enough money for 2.7 million meals, Lundgren said. “People pay attention to celebrities and listen to what they have to say,” he said.

What else has Macy’s done during the past 12 months to help out nonprofit organizations?

“We’ve raised $4 million for national parks association [as part of an Earth Day campaign], $6.5 million for Reading is Fundamental, and our Make-A-Wish ‘Believe’ campaign from last holiday season raised over $8 million,” Lundgren said.

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