American Greetings, a 100+ year old company rooted in meaningful connections, had overtaken Hallmark as the leader in unit sales, but overall growth was flattening and card sales were slowing. Occasion-based card sending still holds some sense of obligation yet those everyday sending moments represented the opportunity (thank you, thinking of you, etc.) But, there were still more significant barriers:
As the company whose internal mission was "to make the world a more thoughtful and caring place every single day", we needed to start acting like it. We needed to do something to make the world a little less rude and it needed to be done in March, typically a period where everyday card sending moments should be amplified.
Starting a conversation would be key but it wouldn't be enough. We needed to incite a behavior. Raising awareness of the problem alone wouldn't be productive. We needed to be part of the solution. We needed to be part of an initiative for cultural correction and serve as the remedy for a rude world to inspire acts of gratitude.
We believed that the remedy for the rude world starts with reminding people to say two simple words: Thank You. Multiplied by millions this small act can manifest big change. To start our movement we'd introduce a cultural notion, giving the 87% of hand raisers the chance to battle incivility. We introduced the ThankList; like a bucket list, but it's a list recognizing the people who have shaped your life.
The ThankList is a social experiment that challenges people to create and fulfill a ThankList: A list of family, friends or strangers to whom they would like to express gratitude for helping to make them feel alive. Human. Relatable. Inspiring. The ThankList demonstrates how we can all practice gratitude.
Using a paid, owned and earned strategy we drove the success of #ThankList as American Greetings' first step in furthering its mission to make the world a more thoughtful and caring place. We'd activate customers and fans by inspiring storytelling and encouraging sharing, ultimately making an impact on increasing gratitude conversations in culture.
ThankList launched with a 5-part documentary series with two-time Academy Award winning filmmaker, Barbara Kopple. We sent five individuals to thank someone on their ThankList. The videos lived on http://www.www.thanklist.com where consumers could watch stories, see social conversations and create a ThankList via Facebook connect or a social platform of choice.
We hosted the launch event featuring a Gratitude panel with the Huffington Post at the New Museum in NYC. We enlisted Elizabeth Banks as our spokesperson, who has been public about her own gratitude, to headline our panel, moderated by Arianna Huffington, and also featured Deepak Chopra, Gabrielle Bernstein, Barbara Kopple and Dr. Randy Kamen.
We secured an earned segment on The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon featuring Elizabeth Banks. We conducted a Gratitude survey via a Harris Poll and amplified with Clever Girls Collective. We had a Huffington Post content partnership and created a new editorial section entitled: HuffPost Gratitude. We partnered with Mashable for a Gratitude series of native placements and amplified with paid Facebook and Twitter ads. Additional seeding efforts via Outbrain and Viral Gains drove scale.
We returned in November to leverage the Gratitude conversation near Thanksgiving. We conducted another Harris Poll to drive more outreach with Elizabeth Banks. We partnered with United Way and each #ThankList submission drove a donation dedicated to hunger prevention. We scaled efforts with paid partnerships including Facebook, Instagram and Twitter. We scaled with ROI Influencer and Entertainment Weekly to engage celebrity influencers Keegan Allen, Brooke Burke Charvet, Jesse James Decker, Matt McGorry, Robin Roberts and Derek Hough to create social content on personal stories of gratitude. Additionally, we created custom editorial content and community gratitude challenges via Mashable, developed custom content with SheKnows, hosted a Gratitude-themed #30DayChallenge with Clever Girls Collective and enlisted Mavrck to align with micro influencers that got us trending on Twitter.
Our primary focus of the ThankList campaign was to drive engagement with the brand. comScore data shows that the ThankList moved mission level metrics among those exposed and The Huffington Post was identified as a key partner due to audience, high reach and brand strength:
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