The Salvation Army’s Leave Your Blanket Behind Cover Drive

Generosity can be a hard thing to foster in the general public. That isn’t to say that people aren’t generous, but capturing that generosity and directing it towards the specific need can be a serious challenge, and one that charity marketers battle on a daily basis in their engagement strategies. The problem is bringing people from the moment where a charitable concept appeals to them, to the point in which they actually go out and make their contribution to the charity in question. This is a conundrum that the Salvation Army in South Africa has cleverly avoided in their recent Cover Drive campaign.

The Campaign

Every year in winter the Salvation Army runs blanket collections to benefit the homeless. This year, they wanted to try something different, so they ran the collected during a summer sporting event, the South Africa v. Australia T20 cricket game. Their logic was simply, but charitably ingenious: People bring blankets with them to sit on at a the game. So, instead of running a blanket appeal, they simply asked people to “Leave Your Blanket Behind”.

What resulted was a successful campaign in which a four hour period netted 10% of their overall target for the year.

Locational Branding

The Salvation Army’s brand is very recognizable, strongly linked to the concept of charity and to the gentle reminders we often see in television and print advertisement to contribute to charitable causes. This has really been used to the campaign’s benefit in this guerrilla marketing case as blankets printed with the “Leave Your Blanket Behind” tagline were spread throughout the seating area for use and as a motivating reminder.

These blankets were an ingenious addition to the campaign as they not only drove the point home by using the prospective donated goods (blankets) as a medium, they also kept to the campaign’s simplistic vibe. Little information was provided beyond the brand logo, with slick graphic additions to work in the Cover Drive appeal, and a hashtag #SACoverDrive. This allowed people to get social to find the information, as well as use the blankets and see the usefulness of such a simple item.

Concepts of Value

One of the reasons that the Salvation Army’s Cover Drive campaign is so clever is that they’ve accurately estimated the concept of value among the intended participants of the appeal. The location at which the cricket game is being played has no seats, meaning that people will need to bring something (usually a blanket) to the game to sit on. The great thing about these blankets is although they’ll be of reasonably quality they won’t be so valuable that people will hesitate to part with them. After all, they’ve brought them to lay on the ground.

This is a smart aspect to the appeal because it requires no effort on the side of the donators. They’re already bringing the blanket and all they’re asked to do is leave it behind. It’s simple guerrilla marketing with a strong foundation, and we’re happy to see the Salvation Army using it in the pursuit of such a worthy cause


Advertising Agency: OwenKessel Leo Burnett, Johannesburg, South Africa
Executive Creative Director: Donovan Bryan
Creative Director: Sunet Willemse
Art Director: Richard Thompson
Copywriter: Jonathan Dennis