PASS IT ON: A Viral Kindness Campaign

– By Hanah Van Borek

Paying it forward; that’s the idea behind PASS IT ON, a campaign that evolved from the creative minds of four digital design students from VFS. With our help here at Magnolia, we were able to have a successful launch on November 2, 2012. These talented classmates were tasked with a project, to develop a campaign concept and brand to promote the World Kindness Concert (WKC). The WKC is an event in its 12th year bringing together Canadian musicians to raise funds for anti-bullying programs in schools across BC. This was the second year that Magnolia has been involved in promoting the event.

What the students came up with was a symbol for kindness and an offering of hope, a yellow umbrella. From this stemmed the initiative PASS IT ON. The plan was to give away yellow umbrellas as random acts of kindness all the while spreading the word about the WKC. This idea was brought to the next level when social media was introduced into the mix. People who received an umbrella would then tweet a photo and tag #PIOkindness. By sharing the umbrellas not only in real life but online this would enable the campaign to be tracked and spread virally. 50 numbered umbrellas were given away in downtown Vancouver on November 2nd, 2012 with labels that directed participants to this fantastic site www.PIOKindness.com. The VFS students developed the concept while Magnolia was in charge of execution. Ever since the launch, people have been tweeting and posting photos of their umbrella on Facebook and Twitter.

This has been a wonderful way for the organizers of WKC to engage with the community of Vancouver and as a result gain greater exposure. Check out this great article from 24 hrs: Selflessness promotions set to spread city with compassion. It’s an example of how a simple idea can grow into a full-fledged campaign opportunity. All Vancouverites complain about the rain thus the umbrella becomes the perfect memento. The launch was not only a fun way to generate some buzz about the concert but more importantly it showed once again how social media can amp up your marketing strategy . It is one thing for people to hear about a great cause, but when they are invited to participate, which is so easy with social media, the campaign becomes their own through user generated content. So if you’re in Vancouver and you happen to come across one of those 50 yellow umbrellas out there, don’t forget to PASS IT ON #PIOKindness @kindnessconcert or on Facebook facebook.com/WorldKindnessConcert .

Kindness.PassItOn from Pass It On on Vimeo.

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