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Bloomingdale’s bikes to benefit amfAR in nationwide charity event

August 28, 2015

Image courtesy of Bloomingdale's Image courtesy of Bloomingdale's


Department store chain Bloomingdale’s is pedaling toward a cure for AIDS with an in-store event and partnership with amfAR, The Foundation for AIDS Research.

From Aug. 27-30, consumers can go to their nearest Bloomingdale’s location to participate in a virtual bicycle race, a metaphor for the medical race to end the epidemic through research funding. Bloomingdale’s has pledged $75,000 toward the cause, but getting consumers actively involved in this initiative will help the fundraiser make more of an impact.

"AmfAR has been at the forefront of HIV/AIDS research and treatment since the earliest days of the epidemic," said Anne Keating, senior vice president of public relations, special events and corporate philanthropy at Bloomingdale’s, New York.

"Bloomingdale’s is proud of our long-standing partnership with amfAR to eradicate this disease," she said. "We were there when the fight started and were the first department store in the country to raise money for AIDS research and treatment."

Purchases with purpose
Bloomingdale’s introduced its sixth annual Fashionable Fundraiser via social media and an email campaign sent to its subscribers.

The email subject line is “You get, we give,” a reference to the discounts given by the store during the event. A general 15 percent discount is given, while those who use a Bloomingdale’s credit card and spend more than $300 receive 20 percent off their purchase.

During the same time, Loyallist members receive triple points on everything and a $25 rewards card.

Bloomingdale's Palo Alto store

Interior of Bloomingdale's

This offers an incentive to consumers, driving them in-store and online to shop.

Also in the email, Bloomingdale’s explains that shopping helps the retailer donate $75,000 to amfAR. Consumers can click a link to “learn more.”

On the click-through, consumers can read more about Bloomingdale’s efforts with amfAR, which have included a shirt created by amfAR chairman and designer Kenneth Cole, with sales of each t-shirt giving $25 to the nonprofit.

Here, consumers can also watch a video that puts the cause in perspective. This short communicates the message that “we are all living with AIDS” since the world is now so interconnected and one in 25 deaths can be attributed to the disease.

AmfAR funds medical research and also works to educate and prevent the disease through programs globally.

Consumers can contribute in a meaningful way through a small gesture by riding a stationery bike for one to three minutes.

Bloomingdale's Fashionable Fundraiser

Bloomingdale's Fashionable Fundraiser in 2014

Those who participate will be given a $10 bMoney card just for riding and will also be entered into a drawing for a Schwinn stationery bike or a $1,000 gift card to the store and two tickets to the amfAR Inspiration Gala.

"Our Fashionable Fundraiser events give customers the opportunity to learn more about amfAR and discover how to support the foundation’s fight," Ms. Keating said. "The in-store bike race is a component of the event we started last year, and it gives our shoppers a chance to show their support in the fight against AIDS."

Cause and effect
With AIDS a global and universal concern, amfAR is a popular partner for charity campaigns.

Harry Winston and Marc Jacobs were among the luxury brands that participated in the inaugural amfAR Hong Kong Gala.

On Saturday, March 14, amfAR hosted a black tie evening with a cocktail reception, dinner and auction, as well as live entertainment. Luxury brands frequently partner with amfAR for events in other major cities, and this gala enabled them to help the cause while reaching international and local celebrities and affluent consumers (see story).

With a network of stores across the U.S., Bloomingdale’s can make a substantial impact through shopping-centric charity campaigns.

Last October during Breast Cancer Awareness Month, Bloomingdale’s hosted a "Give Pink, Get More" shopping event. Consumers could enroll with a $15 fee that will all benefit The Breast Cancer Research Foundation, The Carey Foundation and The Marisa Acocella Marchetto Foundation.

Also raising awareness, the retailer teamed up with cartoonist and author of “Cancer Vixen” Marisa Acocella Marchetto and photographer Bob Carey and his wife Linda Carey, who co-founded the Tutu Project (see story).

Through these events, consumers become a part of the retailer's corporate philanthropy.

"The help of our dedicated and enthusiastic shoppers has helped us continue to grow this event every year," Ms. Keating said.

Final Take
Sarah Jones, staff reporter on Luxury Daily, New York