Will Walgreens win customers with Red Nose Day?
Red Nose Day, a charity promotion launched in the U.K. in 1988, will for this first time this year also be happening in the U.S. Red Nose Day, which brings awareness and money to children’s charities, is making its U.S. debut as the result of a partnership between the U.K.-based charity Comic Relief (not affiliated with the U.S. charity of the same name), such big-names as M&Ms and NBC, as well as Walgreens, which has acted as the brick-and-mortar face of Red Nose Day.
As a part of the promotion, customers have for the past few weeks been able to find $1 red clown noses for purchase at the checkout of Walgreens. Proceeds from the sale of the noses go to charities that deal with child poverty.
There has been a strong social media element to Red Nose Day’s introduction to the U.S., with Walgreens encouraging customers to take pictures of themselves wearing the clown noses and tweet or Instagram the pictures with the hashtag #RedNose. The Walgreens website reported that 10,417 images had been tweeted using the hashtag. A YouTube video marking the kickoff of the promotion shows what appears to be an actual customer in Walgreens being serenaded in an over-the-top flash mob-style song-and dance routine by amateur actors upon her buying the first nose of the promotion sold in the U.S.
Beyond the social sphere, the companies involved appear to have spared no expense in trying to make Red Nose Day catch on stateside. Celebrities like Heidi Klum have been pictured wearing red noses, as have the entire cast of the NBC Today Show. Today Show host Matt Lauer has also signed on to do a charity bike ride from Boston to New York as part of the promotion. The media ramp-up will culminate with a three-hour star-studded entertainment show on May 21st on NBC, featuring comedy written in conjunction with popular sketch comedy website Funny or Die.
Linn Jordan, marketing director of cause marketing at Walgreens, indicated in an interview with Ad Age that the spirit of levity surrounding Red Nose Day is on-brand with the company’s image.
"It was one meeting. … It was such a natural fit for us, we made the decision that day," said Ms. Jordan of being approached by Comic Relief U.K. to take part in Red Nose Day. "It allows us to play into the happy side of happy and healthy, and have fun with the cause."
- NBC, Walgreens Go Big For Red Nose Day’s American Debut – AdAge
- Red Nose Day – Walgreens.com
- Red Nose Day USA – Rednoseday.org
- Red Nose Day Begins at Walmart – YouTube
- Matt Lauer’s biking from Boston to New York to raise money for Red Nose Day – Today.com
What makes the difference between cause marketing events that work and those that do not? Will Walgreens benefit long-term from its association with Red Nose Day?