Red Cross Store+ – The store that sells hope

Insights, Strategy & the Idea
The Red Cross needed to raise money for its main causes during the Christmas season. Being that this is the time when people are more compassionate and are inclined to shop, the idea was born. The main marketing and communication objectives were to promote and sell Hope. A product that cannot be touched, seen, worn or heard. But felt. The target was just about everybody. From adults who went out to shop to the younger audience who identified with the possibility of buying Hope. The uniqueness is simply the fact that it is a product that is only felt but that was sold like a normal product at a time when Hope is in most demand in the world. Through the use of a Store that sells Hope instead of regular media to ask for donations, we cut through the clutter and changed the act of giving a gift.

Creative Execution
The creative strategic solution was to convey the idea of the perfect shopping alternative for Christmas: buy Hope. We made sure it had the perfect balance of a regular Store and one that sold something you couldn’t actually touch. It stood out and quickly became the mall’s center of attention. To maximize the response to this idea we used several channels. Radio as a teaser with renowned celebrities endorsing. We made several short films documenting every stage of the construction and played them online and at the mall. PR efforts made sure it was constantly a topic in TV shows, radio interviews and magazine articles. Street billboards near the Store reminded for people to change the gift to help change the world. Ads in print media sustained the message along the Store’s run. And finally the Store itself became the best medium to spread the word about buying Hope.

Results and Effectiveness
As a result, hundreds attended the opening. The media coverage was unlike anything the Red Cross had experience in its history.The Red Cross was able to exceed the needed funds to carry out several of its programs and it helped change people’s attitude towards the act of donating. Finally the Store quickly reached the shopping top ten in sales and had to extend its opening hours and closing date. The success of the Store has made possible the plans of opening new ones in Portugal, Spain and wherever there is a Red Cross. With solid plans in several locations.

The promotion: from concept to implementation
Once the idea of selling Hope was born, we searched for the perfect spot in a popular shopping center. Architects, engineers, creatives and the client, together built it in record time. We promoted the the sale of Hope just like we would with a regular Store. But with the emphasis on the fact people could buy Hope. At the end, the goal was to have people feel the experience of shopping. Because even though they left the store with their hands empty – they would leave with their hearts full.
Hope became the perfect gift alternative this Christmas. The promotional efforts led to hundreds lining up to buy Hope on opening night and the Store reached the Mall’s top ten in sales in the first day. Due to the success there are solid plans to open new stores in Portugal, Spain and wherever there’s a Red Cross. And finally, to promote the sale of Hope was to promote the Red Cross, which has now risen remarkably in terms of awareness. After all, selling Hope has definitely changed the way people see the act of giving.
It was a Store that sold a product you cannot touch or see. And it was surrounded by dozens of actual stores with thousands of products. All that inside a mall during the busiest shopping season of the year. So, the promotional effort of advertising Hope as a gift alternative for Christmas, as a product proved to be just right. Because people embraced the idea and identified the Red Cross as part of the shopping experience. Also the way Hope was promoted was crucial to the success. With different sizes, values and kinds as they related to the different causes

The direct campaign
The objective of the direct campaign was to create a demand for a product that could not be touched, seen, heard or worn, but felt. Hope. And by doing so, raise money for the Red Cross. Direct marketing was extensively used to generate interest. First with brochures of the project for potential partners. Then with formal invitations to opinion makers, news outlets and celebrities handpicked to endorse it. That combined with the Internet to reach the general public, led to desired curiosity and number of customers at the opening and after. The creative execution achieved just the right tone as it reached different targets and was able to create the demand for Hope and sustain the public and media interest on the Store. A Store that was both a commercial place but with an emotional side to it gave us the opportunity to reach out to people like no retail store had ever done before. The originality of Hope as a product and a Store that sold it in various sizes and kinds let us create several types of direct marketing elements. All of them with Hope in mind.

We had to be sure people understood it wasn’t just any other store. But one that sold Hope. And had to be clear it would be in a mall and have every characteristic of an actual retail store. At the same time, people had to make the connection between the Store and the Red Cross. The solution was to convey as close as possible the Christmas shopping experience with a direct marketing that created curiosity and awareness at the same time. The response was huge with hundreds attending the opening, several companies joining the project and a constant flow of customers.
From the three hundred formal invitations sent out to the opening, close to 90% confirmed their presence. All three major networks, the magazines with greater circulation and all radio stations that were targeted were present. The flow of public driven by the site, web features and regular mail, kept the Store with a constant flow of customers. The Store also led to partnerships with corporations that was only possible due to the initial direct effort to present the Store in detail. The investment was recouped and helped spread the word about the Store that sold Hope. Lots of it.

Design: the challenges and key objectives

Hope cannot be touched, seen or worn. But Hope can be felt. Our main challenge was to find the perfect design to convey the idea of a retail store that sold Hope. It had to be easily identified as a store and as part of the Red Cross universe. The main objective was to make sure people had a shopping experience in it. And the design was vital. Since it was the design of the Store, all graphic materials such as shopping bags had to make it stand out from dozens of stores in the same mall.
From the start we aspired to a minimalist design. The vouchers indicating the prices and causes for example had to be simple; explain what they meant with just a glimpse of them. And although the Red Cross logo was everywhere, we gave it some retail personality by assigning black and white images to the materials in order to never overshadow the actual message: selling Hope. The minimalist design of all material and the interior design made the Store hip and desired. And eventually the centrepiece of the mall during Christmas.
Every person that came in contact with the Store design quickly understood the concept. Materials such as shopping bags and vouchers of Hope had to printed again due to the public’s increased interest in having one each. The interior design on the other hand, made the Store inviting, friendly and desired. And the best of all: the design was easily adapted to any medium, making the communication stronger and more relevant. The Store design in all its forms has become a reference for future NGO’s projects and the blue print for future Hope Stores.

PR Project
To help the Red Cross raise money we built an actual retail store. The store sold something you can’t touch, see, wear or hear, but feel: Hope. The stores still had hangers, windows, fitting rooms, salespeople, and bags but had one difference: people left with their hands empty but with their hearts full.
This idea was communicated across several channels, from radio to features on the Internet and print. And from the start two of the biggest Portuguese celebrities became the Stores’ ambassadors: DIOGO INFANTE and ALEXANDRA LENCASTRE.

The Store’s opening had hundreds of guests and was in TV newscasts in the same evening. The Store exceeded all expectations, reaching the Mall’s top 10 in sales in the first day. And there are now solid plans to open new ones wherever there’s a Red Cross. All selling Hope.
At a time when the world has the biggest demand for Hope, this PR campaign fell into place perfectly. The biggest challenge was to communicate in a clear and emotional way with a product that can only be felt. We had to find just the right balance between the rational and emotional. The Store Celebrity Ambassadors were crucial to spread the message. They recorded radio ads, constantly referred to the Store in interviews and hosted the opening. Diogo Infante and Alexandra Lencastre definitely helped sustain the buzz and interest in the idea of buying Hope.
The Christmas Season is the most important time for any retailer, a time when people buy more than ever. We concentrated all of our efforts to dramatically increase demand for Hope, starting in early November – with the peak of the campaign on the two weeks prior to Christmas Eve and a major effort on the actual Christmas Eve.
The celebrity ambassadorship ensured the Store was kept in evidence throughout the media, sustaining momentum up until the very last day. Since we were aiming for different targets, we designed a plan in a way it would reach all channels gradually at first and simultaneously once the Store was opened. The tone of the campaign was aimed for a genuine approach, with just the perfect balance of the emotional side and the realities facing the causes supported by the Red Cross.
After the tone of the campaign was decided during the planning stage we set out to chart each medium and target according to the schedule of the Store, and the same with the Celebrity involvement in the campaign.
The schedule can be divided in three parts: the informative and teaser stage, the opening stage during the firs two weeks and the final stage that lasted up until the last day of the Store. This was carried out with specific channels suited for each stage. The Internet, radio features, interviews from celebrity sponsors were used to spread the idea of a Store that sells Hope. The best part of it all is that the message did spread faster than our wildest expectations. With all channels working to keep Hope a best seller during Christmas, the PR campaign showed to be a success indeed. The objective was to have people donate to the Red Cross in a way that had never been done before. A Store that sells Hope had the potential to do that. And the PR campaign was vital, as was the Celebrity endorsement to support the idea of selling Hope. For it gave the idea its deserved credibility and importance.

The results indicate it was the perfect idea for the current world we live in. Since the store reached the Top 10 in sales in the first day. Increased the number of volunteers and the number of people who had never donated before. It also brought other companies to partner with the Red Cross in its effort to raise money. And certainly the most promising result is to know that currently there are plans to open Stores just like it in other places. All of them selling Hope. Lots of it.

After the enormous success of the Red Cross Store+ in Lisbon last year Leo Burnett Spain created a pop-up bookstore again in an upscale shopping center in Madrid.

The shelves are filled with what look like real books. Each cover is associated with one of the 4 most important causes that the Red Cross supports. The books are blank inside but bookmarks let everyone know that by making a donation, they would be contributing HOPE to make the story a happy one.
The objective: To remind the public that by making a donation, they are helping to better the lives of people in need.
Record breaking donations were made in the first weekend. The STORE will be open through the end of December.
The full impact is yet to be determined but the opening night saw over 200 hundreds guests including many celebrities who came to show their support for the cause. They include, Álvaro Arbeloa and Ruben de la Red, both football stars of Real Madrid, the world champion gymnast Rafa Martinez, the recording artist Raúl, the television and film actor Miguel Hermoso, the journalist and televison personality Paqui Peña, and comedians Tony Antonio and Bigote Arrocet, among others.

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett Lisboa

Creative Director: Chacho Puebla
Copywriter/Creative Director: Erick Rosa
Art Director/Creative Director: Renato Lopes
Production Director: Cristina Almeida
Graphic Producer: António Junior
Graphic Producer: António Franca
Account Director: Marta Guimarães
Account Director: Inês Almeida
Account: Renata Ferreira
Creative Advisor: Tura
Av Producer: Hugo Lage


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