Promotion isn’t all feathers and comfy stuffing. There is a real risk of portraying your brand in a smarmy, unconnected, egocentric way. Promotion of your brand doesn’t have to be all Kanye West, sometimes it can be more subtle and clever. (Ouch. – Editor)

The other day my 2nd troglodyte / child minion brought home a unique piece of art. A pillowcase she had drawn on. She proudly proclaimed it was a part of a disaster preparedness program by the Red Cross.

A program dreamed up by evacuating students after cyclone Katrina who stuffed their most important items in pillowcases. It grew into a preparedness education program. The program is supported by the Global Disaster Preparedness Center and The Walt Disney Company, with the Red Cross delivering the message via volunteer led workshops in schools. Aimed at ages 8 -10, the workshop educates children on the importance of being prepared (mentally and physically) for a disaster. Each student is then given a pillowcase to start their own personal emergency kit. They decorate them, thinking of their items they would add. My child had the usual…

…tooth brush, iPad (don’t forget the charger), clothes and our two cats…

This was great for her as it opened up dialogue at home as to what was important and what was a luxury item etc. We were able to talk about how the Red Cross had helped us and many others out in the Christchurch earthquakes.

PRO TIP! When making your evacuation kit make sure you have a can opener, toilet paper as well as phone chargers galore.

This is all nice and rainbows mate – but what’s this got to do with promotion?

The pillow-cases were blank with a Disney picture and logo on the right-hand side. Other than this, that was all they added. The campaign, the education and the kids artwork came first. Disney managed to tack their brand onto a cool positive program that had no negative disaster imagery and gave off the impression of community, empathy, youthful connectivity as well as arty creativity. How many bland promotional campaigns can say the same?

Next time you need to dream up your next promotional endeavour, maybe go altruistic. Help out a cause, receive the feels and still get that brand recognition.