In the midst of the coronavirus crisis, celebs are all trying to find their own way to give back — whether that’s hosting virtual concerts, donating to charities, or — in Reese Witherspoon’s case — launching a large-scale giveaway that goes terribly awry. Witherspoon’s clothing brand Draper James promised to give away a free dress to teachers who filled out an application form (while supplies lasted) to thank them for their tireless work amid this crisis. But the company seriously underestimated the demand, and is now facing backlash as teachers take to Twitter to air their frustrations.
Draper James announced the giveaway in early April, writing: “Dear Teachers: We want to say thank you. During quarantine, we see you working harder than ever to educate our children. To show our gratitude, Draper James would like to give teachers a free dress.”
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Dear Teachers: We want to say thank you. During quarantine, we see you working harder than ever to educate our children. To show our gratitude, Draper James would like to give teachers a free dress. To apply, complete the form at the link in bio before this Sunday, April 5th, 11:59 PM ET. (Offer valid while supplies last – winners will be notified on Tuesday, April 7th.) ✏️📓👗 x The Draper James Team Know a teacher who deserves a pick-me-up? Forward this post or tag your favorite educator in comments. 🍎 #DJLovesTeachers
Overnight, the application site was flooded with users — and crashed. Teachers had to provide their email addresses and photos of their teacher ID (once they could get through to the site), and nearly one million applications were filed in total. Per The New York Times, that’s seven times the number of dresses the company sold in 2019.
— MrsMcD (@MrsMcD6) April 7, 2020
In the end, Draper James had only 250 dresses to give out, leaving the many, many teachers who submitted applications and received nothing feeling duped. They reported getting coupons for 30% off instead — and many, many promotional emails now that they’d given up their email addresses.
@draperjames Did you all fail Marketing 101? Harvesting email addresses?? From TEACHERS???
— David Spawn (@DavidSpawn1) April 15, 2020
Wow. 😂 @draperjames clearly doesn't know how much teachers make. "We love teachers! Here's 30% off our ridiculously expensive dresses." If I'm spending over $100 on an "everyday dress," it better also grade essays.
— Dina Ley (@dinachka82) April 7, 2020
Hi Draper James, I am a teacher and I signed up for the free dress “thank you” offer. Instead I get an email offering me 20% and then 30% after I called you out on your lousy marketing. #draperjames #ReeseWitherspoon @draperjames @ReeseW
— Jessica (@JessicaRobot) April 7, 2020
Of course, we assume that Draper James designed this giveaway with the best of intentions, and simply didn’t anticipate just how many fans they had out there. But even so, we hope they find a way to make it up to these hardworking teachers, and earn back some trust along the way.
Before you go, check out all the celebs who have parents in the military like Reese Witherspoon.