For Target, it's not just another back-to-school campaign this fall. It's back to business.
Or so the retail giant desperately hopes. That business was seriously disrupted over 2013's critical Christmas holiday, when a massive data breach — one of the largest in U.S. history — brought Target to its knees and frightened thousands of customers out the door.
As the dust continues to settle from Target's data breach, the retail giant is looking to brighten up its image with a new back-to-school campaign that focuses on a commitment to social responsibility, the retail giant announced Wednesday.
The campaign — dubbed Buy One Give One — will provide Target brand up&up school supplies to children and schools in need for every up&up purchase by Target customers between July 15 and Aug. 2.
With the help of its non-profit partner, the Kids in Need Foundation, Target will donate up to $25 million in supplies and said it hopes to impact 2 million students with the campaign, which is the largest in Target's history.
"We're really excited that families can feel good about shopping at Target," said Laysha Ward, community relations president for Target.
But the data breach is bound to be on the minds of thousands of shoppers who come to the store — or don't. Target must pull off back-to-school without a hitch. "Clearly, the data breach was a huge negative," said Steven Keith Platt, director of the Platt Retail Institute. "It was a PR debacle. But back to school is big for everyone. They will get through this thing."
Since the breach during the last holiday season, many retail analysts have kept an eye on Target's sales and raised concern that consumers may still be leery of shopping there.
Rick Gomez, Target senior vice president of brand and category marketing, said guest research shows this is not the case and Target shoppers are ready to move beyond the data breach.
"Our guests should shop with confidence," Gomez said. "Target has phenomenal merchandise and we're excited that the Buy One Give One program will inspire guests to share throughout the year."
It will be critical to drive traffic to stores during the back-to-school season, Gomez said, because Target customers spend an average of $250 per child on school supplies and clothing. Back to school is Target's second-largest sales season — second only to the winter holidays.
Gomez said Target cannot share sales projections for the back-to school season, but they are hoping the excitement behind the Buy One Give One campaign will drive traffic to stores and help improve sales.