TORONTO, Dec. 15 /CNW/ -- The Salvation Army is going beyond traditional kettles and bells this Christmas season. This week, the nation's largest non-governmental direct provider of social services is launching a campaign using Facebook, free Craigslist and Kijiji ads and signage on revolving doors in selected Toronto office buildings to reach donors during the economic hardship. The campaign is running in conjunction with a first-ever mobile giving program that allows donors to text-in donations.
"One of the main goals for our Christmas Campaign was to not only collect kettle donations, but also to increase awareness as to the plight of the vulnerable and marginalized," said Graham Moore, Territorial Secretary for Public Relations and Development for Canada and Bermuda. "These unique and creative measures allow us to share that message directly with the public."
Users that sign-on and visit The Salvation Army's Facebook fan page, www.facebook.com/salvationarmy, between now and Christmas can take a "Compassion Quiz" which tests participants' knowledge about common statistics, facts and misconceptions about poverty. The Army is also using free online classified ad space, on Craigslist and Kijiji, to run mock-postings, which call attention to the basic needs present amongst Canada's poor and homeless. One Craigslist ad reads, "Looking for single-person dwelling. Street level. 5-10 square ft. Access to heat and washroom would be nice. Ask for Brian, corner of King & Spadina Aves." Finally, a number of municipal and commercial office buildings, located in the Greater Toronto Area, 20 Dundas Street West, 160 Bloor Street East, 2 Sheppard Avenue East, 5160 Yonge Street and 5001 Yonge Street, will post temporary ads to their front lobby's revolving doors on Thursday December 17th. These ads will communicate a message that poverty shouldn't be a revolving issue, and through donations to The Salvation Army, people can help break the cycle.
The entire marketing campaign was designed around minimizing advertising cost while increasing public visibility. GREY Group Canada, one of the largest advertising and marketing agencies in the country, helped The Salvation Army devise a plan that involved social and digital media strategies as well as viral and street-level marketing techniques.
"The goal was to develop high impact messages with little or no budget cost," said Account Director Zeeshan Hussain. "We developed creative ideas that would resonate and connect with a wider audience of people, and we hope the marketing efforts bring added value to this year's National Christmas Campaign."
In addition to the viral marketing strategies introduced this week, The Salvation Army is continuing its mobile giving campaign which allows donors to text-in donations. Between now and Christmas, donors can text the word 'HOPE' to 45678 to make a $5.00 donation from any Rogers Wireless or Bell Mobility mobile phone. Standard text messaging rates will apply, and the amount will appear on the cellphone user's next bill. This service is provided by Mobile Marketing from Zipgive, a division of Zipstripe Corp.
Contributions to the 2009 Christmas Campaign can also be made at your local kettle, online at www.SalvationArmy.ca, by calling 1-800-SAL-ARMY (725-2769) or via mail to The Salvation Army, 2 Overlea Blvd, Toronto, ON M4H 1P4.
About The Salvation Army:
The Salvation Army is an international Christian organization that began its work in Canada in 1882 and has grown to become the largest non-governmental direct provider of social services in the country. The Salvation Army gives hope and support to vulnerable people today and everyday in 400 communities across Canada and 118 countries around the world. The Salvation Army offers practical assistance for children and families, often tending to the basic necessities of life, providing shelter for homeless people and rehabilitation for people who have lost control of their lives to an addiction. When you give to The Salvation Army, you are investing in the future of marginalized and overlooked people in your community.
About Grey Canada
Grey Canada is a unit of Grey Group. Grey Group ranks among the largest global communications companies. Its parent company is WPP NASDAQ: WPPGY. Grey Group's total offer includes Grey, advertising; G2, activation marketing; Grey Healthcare Group, healthcare communications and MediaCom, media planning and buying. Grey Canada's public relations partner is GCI Group.
Grey Canada's blue-chip client roster includes many of the world's best-known companies: GlaxoSmithKline, Diageo, Playtex, Eli Lilly, Dairy Queen, Invesco Trimark, Ontario Government, Tourism PEI, Procter & Gamble, Canadian Diabetes Association, Greater Toronto Airport Authority, Special Olympics Canada, Starbucks, Glentel and Cadillac Fairview. Website: www.Greycanada.com
News releases, articles and updated information can be found at www.SalvationArmy.ca