Container Store

On the back page of today’s NY Times, there was an ad for The Container Store under the headline WE STAND FOR more than just fabulous closets!

This advertisement was to promote the company’s participation in what they are calling Conscious Capitalism, and what I assess to be flimsily cloaked cause marketing.

The way the campaign works is this:

1) Employees came up with a one word description of The Container Store. For each word they submitted, the company donated a $50 Store More Card to the nonprofit of their choice. (I suspect that’s a gift card to The Container Store–the ad doesn’t explain that, they assume you’d already know.)
2) Now consumers can help nonprofits by filling out a form with their name and email address and a name of a nonprofit they would like to support. They are supposed to bring the entry form into a store. If their submission is chosen, the nonprofit will receive “$1000 cash PLUS and a $1000 elfa Makeover with installation.”

This is a prime example of a campaign serving the corporation more than it serves the nonprofit. I have to assume that not every nonprofit needs a closet makeover. Moreover, consumers have to go to a store to submit their entry–all while providing their name and email to the company which enables them to develop a database. Finally, the languaging in the ad is all about serving their “stakeholders”–a term usually confined to business discourse which makes me think this is more for the business community than the community at large. (To learn more, you can go to What We Stand For.)

And, truly, can you think about The Container Store without thinking about plastic? The company has a link for their environmental initiatives and they are including more sustainable products in their line. For this I applaud them.

However, if I had to pick one word to describe The Container Store given the current campaign, it would have to be SELF-SERVING.

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