Campaign used celebrity endorsement to create awareness and drive donations.
A record $130 million was raised for the 2008 Red Kettle Campaign, reflecting a 10 percent increase in donations over 2007.
• Large-scale proactive media relations
• Satellite Media Tour
• Celebrity engagement
• Message development
• Collateral material development
• On-site support and strategic counsel
The Salvation Army’s Red Kettle Campaign is the nation’s longest running annual fundraiser and the organization’s largest national event. The iconic campaign runs annually from Thanksgiving Day until Christmas Eve and requires a large-scale proactive communications plan to create broad awareness of the charity’s social service efforts in an effort to drive donations for the underserved.
Having developed a communications objectives plan and worked on the Army’s Red Kettle Campaign since 2005, Xenophon Strategies began working on media relations for the 2008 campaign in August, promoting pop rock band Jonas Brothers (Kevin, Nick and Joe) as the performers for Red Kettle Campaign kickoff during the Dallas Cowboys Thanksgiving Day game. Successful results for The Salvation Army included an avalanche of national media coverage and a new national fundraising record for the Red Kettle Campaign.
Xenophon’s first objective was to use the name recognition and popularity of Jonas Brothers and the Dallas Cowboys to increase total audience reach during the campaign. Xenophon also sought to reinforce the reputation of The Salvation Army as a good steward of fundraising dollars and as an organization that can efficiently deliver help to the point of need almost anywhere in America. This was important during 2008, as a deep recession began to increase the level of need in America, while simultaneously decreasing available donor dollars.
Xenophon developed key messages and other collateral materials such as media alerts and press releases for online and traditional distribution. These materials were distributed by Xenophon to national media on October 10 and 11, announcing a Red Kettle Kick Off talent event in Phoenix, AZ on October 12, 2008 which included participation of Jonas Brothers, the Dallas Cowboys and Salvation Army spokespersons. Additionally, Xenophon provided staff from its Washington, D.C. office to support The Salvation Army spokespersons at the announcement event.
On November 26, 2008, Xenophon organized a Satellite Media Tour (SMT) with the three Jonas brothers, Dallas Cowboys owner Jerry Jones and Salvation Army National Commander Israel Gaither to kick-off the Red Kettle Campaign. Up to five weeks in advance, 35 five-minute interviews were scheduled with local and national television. In addition, a media alert, press release, social media release and an audio news release were produced and distributed, along with a B-roll package from the October announcement event. On November 27, 2008, The Red Kettle Kickoff halftime show was nationally televised on FOX to more than 30 million people.
Throughout the campaign, Xenophon responded to local and national media requests and provided Salvation Army spokespersons for comment on the Christmas giving season and involvement with Jonas Brother as the 2008 halftime performers.
Due in part to the popularity of the Jonas Brothers, a record $130 million was raised for the 2008 Red Kettle Campaign, reflecting a 10 percent increase in donations over 2007, the biggest one-year jump in donations for the Red Kettle Campaign since 1997.
Audience impressions for the 2008 campaign also increased by 40 percent year-over-year to 290 million; this followed a 15 percent increase from 2006 to 2007.
“Xenophon’s vital support allowed the Coast Guard to leverage an unprecedented level of cutting-edge social media venues and technology to reach the broadest audience possible.”