Polish Red Cross Encourages Donations With Unique Restaurant Placemats

We love it when charities get their heads around guerrilla advertising to produce a campaign that is both successful towards campaign goals, as well as innovative from a marketing standpoint. The way that we look at it, campaigns that advertise charity have one of the hardest jobs: to get people to give something and get nothing in return. But, this latest campaign from the Polish Red Cross called Very Good Manners, created with advertising agency Cheil, has gone above and beyond any expectations, as you can see in the video.

Very Good Manners

The Very Good Manners campaign took place in restaurants all over Poland, as a way to ensure regular donations towards Poland’s aim of feeding 700,000 malnourished children on a regular basis. Wanting to try a long term campaign, they partnered with restaurants to put out table mats printed with Red Cross information about donating to the charity. To signal their willingness to donate, diners had to simply cross their cutlery when they were done, and a small charge of €1.50 would be added to their bill, enough for one hot meal for a child in need. The campaign took off all around the country, resulting in 15,000,000 impressions and more than €800,000 in earned media, a success by any measure.

Relevant Campaigning

One of the big reasons that this campaign works well is because it is so relevant. Every aspect of the campaign is linked to the others, and it is easy for participants and the public to draw strong and simple connections between all levels of the campaign. First off, the use of table mats is a clever method of communication, as it is a tool that fits into the restaurant setting without being too forceful. The table mats don’t change the atmosphere of the restaurant, but between ordering and eating the food they provide an interesting piece of information that may also serve as a conversational piece.

Running the campaign at restaurants and eateries was also a smart move, as it keeps the campaign together. Diners are donating to help malnourished children get the food that they need. A small hint of that hunger is experienced between ordering their food and eating it, during which time diners can read the information, and make their decision to donate. The connection between their meal and the meal they’re donating is a strong one, and unlike many other charity campaigns that simply ask for funds and donations for unspecified long-term goals, this is an understandable goal that the participant can get behind.

Consistent Branding

The use of the cutlery to recreate the Red Cross symbol is, in our eyes, one of the smartest things that this campaign has innovated. By using real world tools to essentially recreate their brand image in a collaborative way moments before a donation, Red Cross is bringing themselves into the forefront of people’s minds. The simple act of arranging the cutlery, which can have such meaningful implications, is a great example of Red Cross integrating their brand into the reality of charity donations.

The future of this campaign is as yet unclear, although we’re interested to see how it might roll out in other countries in the European Union.

Polish Red Cross: Very Good Manners

Advertising Agency: Cheil, Warsaw, Poland
Creative Director: Marcin Talarek
Creatives: Wojciech Kowalik, Maciej Kozina
Art Director: Wojciech Kowalik
Copywriter: Maciej Kozina
Designer: Piotr Zawałło
Web design: Jakub Kozina
Project Management: Barbara Marzec, Maria Smoleńska, Maciej Sobieski, Aleksandra Monczak
DTP: Krzysztof Korolewski
PR: Marta Ruszkawska
Published: September 2013