Mark Quinn, Segment Vice President of Marketing, Leggett and Platt
Cause marketing in action ~ Pillows for Troops
In late 2009, a retailer from Winnipeg approached the mattress manufacturer I worked for about sending pillows to soldiers serving in Afghanistan in honor of a former employee who had recently died while serving there. He wanted to send 7,500 pillows (and a postcard with each one) to Canadian soldiers.
The company (a Canadian mattress manufacturer) jumped onboard with a strategic plan to draw on our communities to promote the send off of the pillows from Manitoba. We published numerous blog posts, held a special Remembrance Day Ceremony at head office in Ontario and made a video that was first posted on YouTube, then the blog and finally Facebook.
At the Remembrance Day ceremony, a class of 4th graders sang the national anthem to office and factory employees, holding up posters with messages like “Give a soldier a hug” and “Thanks for keeping us all safe.” Every employee was given a postcard and asked to write a note that would accompany their pillows. As some of our factory employees do not write or speak English, it was an exercise in diplomatic relations. And it was all caught on film.
The following week, I flew to a media event in Winnipeg where they met the Afghan ambassador, numerous Canadian dignitaries and the family of Crop. James Arnal. I addressed the media at a special ceremony, gave numerous radio interviews and attended behind-closed-doors meetings with top level officials.
The altruistic nature of the events, the robust communication plan and the company’s ability to draw both American and Canadian communities into the conversations made this the perfect storm of media attention.
“I would like to thank you for your Pillows for the Troops campaign. My partner has just returned from Afghanistan after a 10 1/2 Month tour. The pillow that was sent was a touch of home in an otherwise very unpleasant part of the world. Now we are on a quest to find the same pillow but in King Size. We live in Nova Scotia, but are determined to find them. Thanks again for a great product, and helping our troops.”
To measure success, we considered more than just page views or time on site. The story connected the company with a wide audience and there were many, many instances of fans sharing the blog posts on their personal networks. Commenting on the blog doubled and many people who had never heard of the company suddenly wanted to know where they too could get a postcard to send to a soldier.
CTV News (Winnipeg)
570 News (Kitchener)
CJOB News (Winnipeg)
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