Teachers Are Really Upset About Reese Witherspoon's Recent Instagram Giveaway

In an effort to celebrate teachers during the coronavirus pandemic, Reese Witherspoon’s Draper James clothing line offered a dress giveaway on Instagram. Unfortunately, the good deed resulted in a ton of backlash from teachers who felt like they were tricked by a “marketing ploy.”

Here’s what happened: Earlier this month, Draper James announced a giveaway on Instagram to thank teachers. “We want to say thank you,” the post read. “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.” Teachers were then told to complete a form by the deadline and that they’d be notified via email if they won. It also included an important note: This offer was only valid “while supplies last,” a heartbreaking phrase that follows most giveaways but is crucial nonetheless.

This is where things get even messier. Turns out, Draper James only had 250 dresses to give away. There are more than three million public school teachers in America. By the time the application closed, one million teachers signed up. Predictably, the vast majority of people who entered the giveaway didn’t win a dress. They did, however, get subscribed to the Draper James mailing list, and everyone knows how annoying those can be, especially when they’re a reminder that you didn’t win something.

When the company realized that there were going to be hundreds of thousands of disappointed teachers, they contacted them to make sure they knew it was a raffle. Draper James also posted the number of dresses on its Instagram Stories twice.

But by that point, the giveaway had already been shared so many times—even on Good Morning America and the Today show—and teachers were so upset that they were now subscribed to Draper James emails with nothing to show for it.

One Twitter user referenced a huge Facebook group of teachers and wrote, ” What in the what?? All of us received codes for either 20-30% off codes. Can’t even afford the dresses with a discount! Great marketing ploy!”

Out of 535 teachers on a social media page on FB, not even one got a free @draperjames dress! What in the what?? All of us received codes for either 20-30% off codes. Can’t even afford the dresses with a discount! Great marketing ploy!🤪🤷‍♀️

A substitute teacher told The New York Times, “In the end, it felt like her brand profited more than the teachers,” and there were many more reactions on Twitter.

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.

And a copy of your ID, right? Especially during a time like this, what a predatory thing to do to a struggling profession. As a #teacher I know what brand I won’t be buying. #DraperJames

In an effort to make amends, Draper James emailed the teachers who applied and told them that they would donate to a charity that provides “school necessities to send to their remote-learning students.” The company also said they are “actively working on expanding our offerings,” but some teachers saw this as a “pretty weak apology” and were still disappointed in Reese and Draper James.

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