The ICSC Blog

Michael Kors Goes High-Tech For World Food Day

By: Sarah Ritchie

Two weeks into the U.S. government shutdown, America sits on the brink of default. So it shouldn’t come as a surprise that an NGO (non-government organization) and privately held company are doing some of the most exciting and innovative work to address global malnutrition on World Food Day, observed in more than 150 countries on October 16, 2013. New York-based retailer Michael Kors is partnering with the United Nation’s World Food Programme to raise funds for hungry people world wide, while providing high-fashion watches to stylish customers. The inspired campaign Stop Hunger Now is appealing to shoppers’ attachment to “selfies,” social media, and having fun….while doing good.

Kors used a two-pronged approach to raise money for WFP. First, during the month of October, every purchase of a Kors “100 series” watch is accompanied by a $25 donation to WFP, enough money to feed a starving child for a semester. Beyond that, he incorporated in-store events at six of his properties (SoHo and Rockefeller Center stores in New York, as well as locations in Berlin, Tokyo, Hong Kong and Rio de Janeiro) to create buzz about the often-overlooked problem of malnutrition, the vital role of WFP and other anti-hunger charities, and the sheer excitement and personal satisfaction of getting engaged in a social justice cause. All along the way, customers were encouraged to make individual donations to WFP, as visitors were reminded that a mere $5 feeds a child for a month in much of the developing world.

At these half-dozen locations, models strolled about the stores giving away “Watch Hunger Stop” T-shirts to spread the message. Shoppers were invited to a special photo booth to mug for digitally enhanced photographs (hashtag #WatchHungerStop). The fun, but powerful, images were offered to each customer, to share on his or her social media networks. And, in a stroke of marketing genius, the shots were lived streamed to digital billboards in Times Square, including the famed NASDAQ Marketsite Tower screen at 43rd & Broadway. Now that’s Fashion for a Cause—and an important one, at that.

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