Ralph Lauren Corp. is launching its latest Pink Pony Fund initiative with a social-media campaign — and a hefty donation.

This story first appeared in the October 6, 2014 issue of WWD. Subscribe Today.

To help fight cancer, the brand will donate $10 every time someone shares their personal message about wellness, encouragement or prevention, with a picture and the hashtag #PinkPonyPromise, on Instagram, Twitter or ralphlauren.com this month.

The initiative was inspired by this summer’s ALS Ice Bucket Challenge, as well as the brand’s record social-media performance during fashion week. It is a way for Ralph Lauren to get its social-media fans involved in the fight against cancer during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

“We have always used social media to promote good causes,” said David Lauren, executive vice president of global advertising, marketing and communications for the company.

The funds will go to the Ralph Lauren Center for Cancer Care and Prevention and the Memorial Sloan Kettering Cancer Center.

Lauren’s goal is to reach $1 million in donations in the first few days. And he hopes that by making the process as simple as possible — participants just need to write their promise on a piece of paper and be photographed holding it — the initiative will go viral. The company Web site has 100 #PinkPonyPromise suggestions, ranging from awareness about living a healthy lifestyle to wearing sunscreen.

“In order to stand out, it has to be provocative and feel fresh,” Lauren said in his office at the brand’s Madison Avenue offices. “The size of the donation will call a lot of attention, and, right on the heels of [the] 4-D [show], we feel that we have a lot of momentum with social media.”

Ralph Lauren’s 4-D fashion show, for its women’s Polo collection, became, to date, the brand’s most successful from a social-media perspective, racking up 2.3 billion global media impressions since the event, on Sept. 8.

The company is encouraging the entire fashion industry, influencers in the digital space, celebrities and all others to help spread the word. Ralph Lauren will be following and tracking posts daily and will donate an extra dollar for each friend (up to five friends) tagged in a photo on Instagram or Twitter.

Lauren compared the program to past successful, money-raising Pink Pony Fund initiatives — such as a benefit at Lincoln Center with Oprah Winfrey or an online auction — but is confident #PinkPonyPromise will surpass both.

“Instagram didn’t exist then,” Lauren said. “Those things, at the time, were so high profile, but we didn’t have the benefit of social media. Now, we decided to just focus on social media. You don’t need an auction and a Lincoln Center event and a dinner. All you need is your mobile phone.”

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