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Great cause supported by next step in communication

BY Michael Johnsen

WHAT IT MEANS AND WHY IT’S IMPORTANT — The Retail Employees with Disabilities Initiative certainly is a noble cause, but more than that, this is a prime example of Walgreens’ active pursuit of an experience with its audience through the mediums that that audience chooses — in this case, Twitter. It represents a new paradigm in marketing as drug retailers and others swap a consumer reach and brand identity proposition for one of engagement and presence.

(THE NEWS: Walgreens hosts live Twitter chat around its new REDI program. For the full story, click here)

That doesn’t mean reach or identity have become passé, necessarily. There’s still a need to advertise to the masses and establish that traffic-driving raison d’être. But it does mean that’s no longer good enough. Today’s marketer needs to establish a humanized presence beyond the store clerk or cashier — a humanized presence that actively engages consumers one-on-one across each of the social media platforms.

That becomes most apparent across initiatives like Walgreens’ REDI, which is a cause around which people get extremely passionate. It’s a passion that extends well beyond those persons with disabilities, the benefactors of an initiative like this, and includes the advocates and family members for that under-employed, under-appreciated group of workers.

So it can’t hurt that that universe of passionate advocates now can identify with @WAG_Deb, the Twitter account for Deb Russell, who serves as Walgreens’ manager of outreach and employee services. Now those advocates can identify someone at Walgreens who shares their passion.

It’s not just happening with Walgreens. It’s not even just happening at retail. Establishing that engagement and presence is becoming more and more a quintessential aspect as to how a reader engages a news organization, in our case Drug Store News (or DSN in Twitter-ized shorthand).

If you don’t already, follow DSN on Twitter (@DrugStoreNews) and make sure you get the most important news in our industry as it happens. And if you don’t tweet, that’s OK, because like Walgreens, DSN also is on Facebook where we cater more to consumers with new product news and LinkedIn where we keep executives abreast to the latest news and dealings in the retail pharmacy space.

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Huggies, Armed Services YMCA donate diapers to U.S. military families

BY Allison Cerra

DALLAS — Huggies has donated 5 million of its Huggies Little Movers camo diapers to families of those who serve to protect our country, reaching every branch of the U.S. military.

To support the donation, the Huggies brand is partnering with the Armed Services YMCA, a military nonprofit organization that makes military life easier with free programs and services to enlisted military and their families nationwide.

Diapers will be distributed on behalf of the National Diaper Bank Network, a nonprofit organization in which Huggies Every Little Bottom is the founding sponsor. Through this program, Huggies Every Little Bottom and the NDBN will work closely with military organizations from coast-to-coast to help get diapers in the hands of military families.

"Our nonprofit organization serves many of the largest military bases in the country, like the Army, Navy, Coast Guard, Marine Corps and Airforce," Armed Services YMCA CEO Mike Landers said. "We are excited to be partnering with the Huggies brand and are extremely grateful for the millions of diapers they are donating to help young enlisted troops and their families."

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Mizco boosts portfolio with universal tablet accessories

BY Allison Cerra

AVENEL, N.J. — Mizco has introduced a line of universal tablet accessories under the company’s DigiPower, iEssentials and Travelocity brands.

  • The iEssentials universal neoprene tablet cases are available in a zipper model and a sleeve model. The universal neoprene tablet zipper case features a zipper pocket for storage of cables and other accessories, while the universal neoprene tablet sleeve case features a fold-over closure, and is reversible. Both models are available in 7-in. and 10-in. sizes for $9.99 and $14.99, respectively;

  • The Travelocity travel tablet case series features travel friendly, form-fitted neoprene cases in SKUs designed to fit all 7- to 8-in. and 9- to 10-in. models of tablets and provide complete protection against damage. Featuring heavy-duty zippers and closed-seam construction for security, form-fitting neoprene and a cushioned interior for extra durability and added protection, these cases are slim and small enough to fit inside another travel bag to keep tablet devices scratch-free and protected while on the go. The cases are available in black, blue, navy, red, purple, pink, blue plaid, red plaid, white polka-dot, houndstooth, pink polka-dot, red hearts, cheetah, zebra and color hearts;

  • The Travelocity waterproof series includes a universal tablet case, featuring watertight closures, control access through clear window, an adjustable neck or shoulder strap and built-in UV protection; and

  • The DigiPower cross-brand tablet charger features a simple three-position "smart switch" that allows it to optimally charge USB-powered tablets from such manufacturers as Apple, Samsung, HTC and BlackBerry. Providing up to 2.1 amps of power, the cross-brand tablet charger is capable of rapidly charging any portable USB device a consumer may have, and its super compact design features a convenient flip-up power plug making it ideal for use on-the-go. The ultra-compact charger is available immediately at retailers and online stores with an MSRP of $29.99.

"The market for both Apple and Android based tablets continues to grow and expand at a dramatic rate and so too does the demand for the accessories that complement these tablets," Mizco president and CEO Albert Mizrahi said. "At the same time, our retailers are being very careful with their inventory management programs. Our new line of universal tablet accessories dramatically simplifies their ordering and inventory management, enabling them to carry one or more brands of universal tablet accessories that work with both tablet platforms. Each of our brands appeals to a different segment of the consumer market. And now these brand enthusiasts will be able to purchase a line of universal tablet accessories that works with their iPad and Android tablets."

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