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“It Ain’t Bragging If You Can Back It Up”

Kohl’s the Milwaukee-based department store with about 1130 stores in 49 states has raised $180 million for kids’ education and health through its cause marketing efforts, and with this ad in their weekly flyer they’re bragging a little.

That’s not an unrivaled amount of money for a company to generate via product sales cause marketing: VIVA GLAM is now north of $225 million in funding for HIV/AIDS; Newman’s Own is over $300 million; Geoffrey Beene is right around $150 million.

(Comment below with anyone I've missed).

But all those cause marketers had a jump on Kohl’s.

VIVA GLAM and Geoffrey Beene both started their cause marketing efforts in 1994. Newman’s Own was founded in 1982. By contrast, Kohl’s Care’s for Kids was launched in the year 2000.

Maybe a small brag isn’t out of line!

After all, like the great pitcher Dizzy Dean…the last Major Leaguer to win 30 games in a season…famously said, “It ain’t bragging if you can back it up.”

Kohl’s can plainly back it up.

Where does all that money go? Much ends up at children’s hospitals. But I was fascinated to see the following news item register on my radar late last week.

Kohl’s has made a $1.25 million sponsorship pledge to TED. Quoting from the press release, “as part of the partnership, Kohl’s will be the sole presenting sponsor of the inaugural TEDYouth event in New York on Saturday, Nov. 19, 2011 and will help TED launch TED-ED, a new Linkresource on TED.com, providing free educational content for educators and students.”

My first reaction was, ‘imagine what a difference $1.25 million could have made to the www.khanacademy.org,’ the nonprofit online educational site with an existing library of more 2,700 lessons on everything from macroeconomics to microbiology. Ironically, all the lessons at the Khan Academy are taught by Salman Khan, who has spoken at TED.

But here’s Kohl’s thinking, again quoting from the press release.
“Kohl’s is committed to kids education and, at a time when school districts nationwide are feeling the pinch of budget cuts, we are partnering with TED to help bring free, exciting new educational opportunities and content to kids across the country,” said Julie Gardner, Kohl’s executive vice president and chief marketing officer. “TED presentations make learning fun and we believe the new programming created by our partnership will be compelling for kids and will help teachers who struggle to find great educational experiences with scarce resources.”
I hope Kohl's bet pays off.

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