OMNI.10/BC gets smart with kindness campaign

Somebody stays out in the cold to pump your gas. Somebody shovels your driveway, leaving behind a small card stating, 'You've just received an Unexpected Gift.' OMNI.10/BC's random-acts-of-kindess campaign won the station its first national award in 2005. This year, the Unexpected Gift Christmas campaign is getting the multi-platform treatment, and sponsors are signing on for integration.

Roger’s OMNI Television’s BC station is engaging viewers in person, on the air and online with its Unexpected Gift campaign again this holiday season. And the multi-platform approach has drawn sponsors such as Alaska Airlines, Save-on-Foods, the Salvation Army and the Salvation Army Trinity Western University.

The new features of the campaign this time around are an interactive website and contest, plus street teams comprised of volunteer students handing out Unexpected Gift cards and Save-on-Foods certificates. Rogers OMNI Television’s Toronto art department created a microsite, where guests can post their own Unexpected Gift stories or nominate their friends. When the contest ends on Dec. 17, the winners will receive a family vacation to Manzanillo, Mexico provided by Alaska Airlines and the Mexican Tourism Board.

The website also offers a top ten list of suggested acts of kindness, such as throwing a few coins into someone else’s parking meter, caroling at a seniors’ care (which the Unexpected Gift crew did on Dec. 9) or making cookies for local fire or police departments. Hitting the streets of Langley, BC again on Dec. 16, the Unexpected Gift crew – a street team of OMNI staffers and student volunteers – will help busy shoppers with their packages, shuttle them from door to door, distribute hot chocolate and hand out Save-On-Foods gift certificates.

Four 15-second spots were developed for the campaign. The first one broke on Nov. 27 and featured a generous guy gassing up not only his own car, but that of a waiting woman to save her from having to step outside on a wintery day. The second spot shows two women driving toward the same parking spot and one of them graciously giving it to the other. In the third, a woman helps an elderly man with a heavy load of shopping bags and boxes.

Each week until Dec. 24, a new 15-second spot will hit the air. On Christmas Day, the four spots will be laced together into a 60-second spot and then run as a whole throughout the schedule and primetime programming until Dec. 31. OMNI hosts are also talking about the contest in their local programs.

The creative and Canadian media buying were done in-house by OMNI, although the station cooperated with Alaska Airlines’ agency, Seattle-based Wongdoody, and Save-On-Foods’ agency, Langley-based DSA Media, for placements down south. Last year’s four-spot campaign, with no sponsorship and little web presence, won Rogers OMNI Television’s BC station top honours in the TV Station Promotions category at the Television Bureau of Canada’s Retail Commercial Awards – the station’s first national award.