We Created Ontario’s First Common Kindness Day
When Ontario insurer The Commonwell Mutual Insurance Group challenged us to stir up some goodwill in the local communities they serve, we opted for the obvious solution: create a provincial holiday out of thin air and give away 1,000 coffees on The Commonwell’s dime - all while keeping our client’s involvement top secret. Luckily, they understand we have a method to our madness and gave the greenlight to our harebrained scheme.
Here’s how it worked: we approached ten independent coffee shops to collaborate with The Commonwell on ‘Common Kindness Day’ by paying them to give away 100 free coffees to their customers and encourage each person to pay the kindness forward.
We positioned The Commonwell as an ‘anonymous benefactor’ behind this day of caffeinated kindness, swearing those involved to secrecy and refusing to reveal our client’s identity to any reporters who asked. This seems like a bizarre PR tactic – we know – but it worked. The mystery only served to stir up a larger buzz around Common Kindness Day and the ‘mysterious benefactor’ behind it all, generating an outrageous amount of media attention with several reporters filming live segments from the coffee shops and even assisting with coffee deliveries around town.
With the support of local media and the public, Common Kindness Day quickly became a viral news story and inspired random acts of kindness across the province with the hashtag #CommonKindnessDay trending at #1 on Twitter in Toronto for most of the day.
One week later, we finally announced The Commonwell as the local business behind the mystery and generated another onslaught of media coverage – this time, with our client’s name front and centre.
Our unconventional PR tactics generated a local media storm for our client generating more than $880K in ad value which included numerous news segments by the likes of CTV News Ottawa, CKWS Kingston, CHEX TV, and even caught the attention of insurance industry heavyweights Insurance Business Canada and Thompson’s World Insurance News.