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Bon-Ton takes on bullies with mobile awareness campaign

A social media campaign including the opportunity to share an anti-bullying message via Facebook, will run Oct. 1-31 during National Bullying Prevention Month. It?s part of the Milwaukee-based department-store chain?s support for the third year of Stomp Out Bullying, a leading national bullying and cyberbullying prevention organization for children and teens, and Blue Shirt Day-World Day of Bullying Prevention on Oct. 6. 

The campaign is an example of how mobile?s power can be harnessed in support of a worthy cause. 

?Mobile is an important marketing component to reach a younger consumer,? said Christine M. Hojnacki, vice president of public relations and special events with Bon-Ton Stores Inc. ?Mobile is a convenient way for customers to interact with this campaign and get involved in supporting the cause.? 

Blue shirts
Under the campaign launched last week, Bon-Ton, which operates Bon-Ton, Boston Store, Bergner?s, Carson?s, Elder-Beerman, Herberger?s and Younkers stores, will exclusively sell blue shirts signifying support of friendship, compassion and raising awareness of anti-bullying among youth. 

Blue Shirt Day - World Day of Bullying Prevention is observed annually on the first Monday in October.

Through Oct. 6, the ?Blue Shirts? will be sold exclusively online and at Bon-Ton Stores. The profits from each T-shirt sale will be donated directly to Stomp Out Bullying. 

Bon-Ton will award seven $1,000 donations to support anti-bullying awareness programs. 

Through Sept. 13, consumers can enter at for a chance to win. Seven prize winners will be randomly selected to win a $250 shopping spree at Bon-Ton and a $1,000 donation to their school of choice.

Through Oct. 31 consumers can text FRIENDS to 266866 and receive $10 off a $25 purchase offer at any Bon-Ton store. Bon-Ton Stores will donate up to $15,000 during the mobile and social media campaign.

Essential tool
The campaign is an example of how mobile?s growth in recent years into an essential tool across every sector, business and non-profit, has increased its value in promoting worthy causes. 

As a means of getting the word out, it is an important low-cost extension of marketing. As mobile continues its link to social media, it can be an important tool to enable grassroots campaigns around a host of issues.

Anti-bullying campaign video.

Mobile also is a transformational platform with proven value in educating and inspiring the populace around critical issues including not just bullying but also the environment, aids, malaria and education. 

However, it needs to be incorporated into all aspects of the business. It can?t be viewed as a narrow channel strategy but must be thought of in the context of content in a promotion strategy, according to experts.

Partnerships are seen as a critical part of a worthy-cause mobile-marketing strategy. 

?One of our goals is to spread awareness and education to reduce and eliminate bullying,? Bon-Ton?s Ms. Hojnacki said. 

?Social media enables our fans and followers to interact, share stories and be a part of making a difference.?

Final Take
Michael Barris is staff reporter with Mobile Marketer, New York.