Instagram Reels Case Study: Celebrities Join T.J.Maxx & Marshalls To #CarolForACause

instagram reels campaign

TJX’s Instagram Reels Case Study Three Month Holiday Results

Charitable and cause-focused marketing efforts traditionally increase during the holidays, and 2020 is no exception.

With many Americans still feeling the dismal financial effect of rising Covid-19 numbers, the merry and bright holiday shopping season is looking very different. A recent survey reveals 90% of consumers are spending more time online shopping for the holidays than the previous year.

TJX companies (T.J.Maxx, Marshalls, HomeGoods, Sierra, & Homesense) aims to end the year on a high note by partnering with celebrity songbirds to give back to communities and spread holiday cheer.

The home-fashion retailer is one of the leading companies to leverage Instagram’s Reels format for an influencer campaign. Instagram Reels made headlines with its August 2020 launch as marketers questioned if the new Instagram format would rival or supersede TikTok amid a pressing ban.

Nearly three months after the launch of Reels, TJX’s holiday campaign offers new insights into the user adoption of Reels. Keep reading to see the Instagram Reels case study results.

T.J.Maxx & Marshalls Rings In The Holidays With Instagram Reels #CarolForACause Campaign

Reels influencers


  • Awareness: Spread positive messaging and holiday cheer through the combined reach of influencers
  • Positive Brand Sentiment: Spark holiday magic with songs and kick off a season of joy to end the difficult year
  • Engagement: Raise funding for Feeding America partnership through audience participation
  • Approach

  • Channel: Instagram Reels
  • Influencer Size: Seven pop star influencers, six mega-influencers and one mid-tier influencer (each influencer with an individual reach above 400,000 followers).
  • Influencers: Meghan Trainor, Pentatonix, Ally Brooke, Brandy, Andy Grammer, Sofia Reyes, and Brett Eldridge

Many campaigns choose a short-term takeover strategy where influencers post at the same or nearly the same time; however, to spread optimal holiday spirit, this campaign prompted influencers to spread posts throughout the entire six-week holiday season.

Each influencer’s caption included a call-to-action (CTA) with subtle modifications — each pop star prompted his/her audience to record a carol, post it using Instagram Reels with the #CarolForACause tag.

TJX companies then promised to donate $10 for each UGC carol posted to raise up to $1 million for Feeding America (with a 150,000 minimum donation).

Meghan Trainor’s Holiday Jingle Welcomes #CarolForACause Campaign

Reels influencer marketing

Meghan Trainor was the first celebrity star to introduce T.J.Maxx & Marshalls campaign to Instagram Reels on November 17th. Meghan was the largest mega-influencer in the campaign with over 11.6 million followers. Her family-led rendition of “Jingle Bells” also became the most watched Reel of the campaign at over 865,000 views.

Ally Brooke Wishes Followers A Merry Christmas With A Happy First Reel

Reels instagram marketing

Posting her first Instagram Reel, Former Fifth Harmony member Ally Brooke donned a festive Christmas sweater and sang “We Wish You A Merry Christmas” for the #CarolForACause sponsored post. The singer’s Reel received 60,000 likes and received the highest engagement rate for the campaign at almost 15%.

#CarolForACause Instagram Reels Case Study Results & Takeaways

Combined Social Reach:

  • Instagram followers targeted: 12,823,000


  • Views: 1,208,886
  • Likes: 118,373
  • Comments: 1,933
  • Engagement rate (overall average): 10.10%
  • Hashtag usage: 1,908 posts

Was It A Success? TJX Companies’ Holiday Instagram Reels Case Study Results

While the hashtag #CarolForACause generated 1,908 total posts during the six-week period, analysis of the campaign’s audience created content shows that only 24 – 40% of the user-generated posts were Reels, while over 60% of the UGC was Instagram video, IGTV or photo posts.

While the festive campaign was successful in stimulating interaction with Reels, the ratio of Reels to additional Instagram formats suggests the traction of Reels activity may not be on par with rival TikTok.

During the final week of the campaign, the Reels-focused campaign strategy briefly extended to TikTok through one sponsored influencer post. The single post prompted 490 users to create TikToks using the #CarolForACause hashtag.

The number of TikToks created using #CarolForACause is comparable and could in fact be higher than the overall number of Reels created for the campaign.

Since TJX Companies’ official rules included any post to Instagram or TikTok with the hashtag, the company was able to raise over $23,970 to Feeding America, resulting in about 240,000 meals (not including the $150K minimum donation).


  • Instagram comment sections of the chosen influencers expressed joy for the cheery carols and charitable cause.
  • The #CarolForACause initiative gave many users the confidence to share their voice on social media.
  • It is important to consider that TikTok caters only to a short-form video creator environment while Instagram offers multiple content formats (video, IGTV, Reels, photos); however, the presence of additional Instagram video formats in the Reels-specified campaign may suggest a slower adoption rate for Instagram Reels.