Walmart celebrates 20-year Canadian milestone

The retail giant's charitable effort incorporates a multimedia campaign

Walmart is celebrating its 20th anniversary in Canada with the launch of a new charity platform called  Supporting Families in Need.

The initiative builds on the retail giant’s extensive corporate social responsibility (CSR) activities, which have seen it raise and donate more than $200 million since entering the Canadian market in 1994.

Supporting Families in Need primarily supports three national charities: Children’s Miracle Network; Breakfast Club of Canada and the Canadian Red Cross. They are the major beneficiaries of the estimated $25 million raised and donated by Walmart each year.

While in-store activity comprises the bulk of Walmart’s fundraising efforts, the company also raises funds for the Children’s Miracle Network through an annual charity walk called the Walmart Walk for Miracles. This year’s event, held last weekend, raised $6.3 million, with final results still being tallied.

“One of the things we’re very proud of is our consistent commitment to helping the communities we serve,” said Susan Schutta, senior director of corporate affairs for Walmart Canada. “Our involvement with Canadian communities from a charitable perspective isn’t all that well-known, so we decided what we would do is find a way that makes it easier for people to understand.”

Schutta called CSR efforts “fundamental” to Walmart’s business in Canada. “Whenever we open a new store we know we’re a corporate citizen in that community and intend to play our part,” she said.

Walmart is supporting the new CSR program with a multimedia marketing campaign depicting Canadians holding signs thanking the retail giant for its charitable contributions. The campaign from JWT Toronto, with media from Mindshare Canada, includes TV, radio, out-of-home and newspaper, as well as a three-page editorial feature in the newest issue of its custom magazine, Walmart Live Better.

Working with Apex PR, Walmart has also created a series of online videos ranging in length from 60 to 90 seconds that showcase its work with the three charitable organizations. All of the videos are available at a landing page dedicated to its charitable efforts.

The company is also introducing a social media-led initiative called “Thanks to You,” which invites Canadians to thank their supporters with an e-card and message. All of the people thanked, as well as those doing the thanking, are eligible to win a $250 Walmart gift card.

The retailer is also holding a Supporting Families in Need Day across its more than 390 stores from coast to coast on June 28. Customers will be asked to “round up at the register,” with the additional proceeds being split evenly between the three charities. Walmart will also match all funds raised to a maximum of $100,000.

Additional consumer-facing marketing supporting Walmart Canada’s 20th anniversary will debut later this month.

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