Target and the National Teacher Appreciation Week

Cause-Related Marketing, Sans the Cause

Target advertised this gift card in their weekly flyer meant to be given to teachers in appreciation for their efforts.

Why? Because “teachers inspire and guide children to learn and grow and achieve their dreams.”

What should we do? “Show your teachers how important they are to you during National Teacher Appreciation Week, May 6-12.”

How? Well “The World’s Best Teacher Giftcard” is available in Target stores and online at

Why now? Because for many kids in the States the school year ends in about three weeks.

The offer turns on “National Teacher Appreciation Week.” In fact, the full title of the week is “The National PTA Teacher Appreciation Week.” The National PTA Teacher Appreciation Week has been the first full week in May since the PTA founded the observation in 1984.

The National PTA is an umbrella group, a 501(c)(3) charity, that leads and coordinates more than 23,000 affiliate Parent Teacher Associations in every state in the U.S. Locally the PTA is the most grassroots organization imaginable, putting on fundraisers for school and teacher needs and advocating and lobbying on behalf of children before principals, school boards and politicians.

Many’s the politician (usually female) who cut her political teeth in local and state PTAs. The former governor of my state of Utah, Olene Walker… not only the first female governor of the state, but the also the first one with a PhD… has said as much.

But PTA is conspicuously absent in Target’s promotion.

If they’re not Federal or state recognized, there’s no sanctioning authority for these observances. And it doesn’t appear that National PTA Teacher Appreciation Week is a trademark of the National PTA.

In effect, what Target has done is create what appears to be a micro cause-related marketing campaign out of thin air but with no money going to an actual cause.

You could do the same thing.

I’m just going down Chase’s Calendar of Events for the month of May and looking only at observances that are not trademarked. May features National Astronomy Day and National Astronomy Week. May is also Awareness of Medical Orphans Month, Better Hearing and Speech Month, Clean Air Month, Creative Beginnings Month, Family Wellness Month, Fibromyalgia Education and Awareness Month, Freedom Shrine Month, Get Caught Reading Month, Heal the Children Month, and many, many more.

I don’t know whether to cheer Target’s inventiveness or decry their parsimony.

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