RD declares May Smile Month in Canada

Reader's Digest hopes new PR stunt will trigger happier online traffic and newstand sales.

Saying it’s ‘determined to get the entire country smiling along with us,’ Montreal-based Reader’s Digest is not only devoting much of the content of its May issue to funny people and amusing topics, it’s going a step farther.

Last week, the venerable pub launched a ‘Smile Campaign,’ inserting ‘smile cards’ in its May issue urging readers to spark warm exchanges by giving them to friends and even complete strangers. RD is also inviting consumers to go online to send smiles electronically, and write about smiles that have inspired them. The submission judged best will win $5,000 plus publication in a future issue.

‘The goal of our smile campaign is to inspire Canadians to pass along a smile and brighten someone’s day, building on the core values of Reader’s Digest as inspiring and empowering in the hearts and minds of our readers,’ VP/publisher Larry Thomas tells MiC. He adds that the business objectives of the initiative are ‘to engage and inspire our 8 million readers, drive newsstand sales and to generate online traffic.’

‘To help drive media coverage,’ Thomas says the magazine and its French-language counterpart, Selection du Reader’s Digest, joined with volunteers from the Laughter Club of Canada, who conducted ‘laughter sessions’ last Tuesday in Toronto, Vancouver and Montreal at which RD employees handed-out Smile Cards.

Thomas says all creative work and media planning was done internally at RD with ‘the help of PR and event consultants for the launch activities.’