The Warehouse’s festive social experiment rewards generous Kiwis- UPDATED

The Warehouse is getting into the Christmas spirit by jumping on the bandwagon of random acts of kindness campaigns.

As part of its ‘Do you know a Christmas goodie? campaign, The Warehouse conducted an experiment to find out if people would help someone who’s 20 cents short at the check out. And, like a less violating version of the Lucky Jockeys campaign on Champagne Rugby, those who oblige are rewarded with $1000. The campaign also stretches online, and it is asking people to suggest generous Kiwis (it will give away $100,000 worth of prizes, with each store given at least one $1000 gift card). 

The Warehouse say they hope the campaign connects with Kiwis at an “emotional level”, as well as encouraging them to connect with each other.

“Christmas is a time for families to give. But there are lots of Kiwis out there who are actually giving a lot more of themselves, and not just at Christmas time. We all know families like this, who’d give the shirt off their backs and the food off their plate. Families who’ve always got time for others no matter what’s going on. The Warehouse Christmas Goodies campaign is about recognising and rewarding these wonderful people who are going the extra mile in their community and helping New Zealand families to flourish,” says a spokesperson for The Warehouse.

Creative ways to get people doing good or stunts that show the good side of humanity, like First Kiss, have become a fairly common marketing trend to gain attention and improve brand loyalty (the opposite also applies, of course, and social experiments like 10 hours of walking in New York show the bad side). But American PR firm Axia Public Relations says “doing good not only increases loyal customer followings, it also often benefits the company’s bottom line and engenders positive public relations”.

The golden rule is “do unto others as you would have them do unto you”, however, its “how to pull off the perfect random act of kindness campaign” guidelines suggest it’s not that simple in the marketing world.

The random acts of kindness cannot actually be random, they have to be relevant to both the customer and the company. American company Edge Shave Gel did this by solving people’s irritations. Edge Shave Gel reduces skin irritation, so they launched an “anti-irritation” campaign. When people tweeted about what irritated them, alongside @EdgeShaveZone twitter handle and #soirritating hashtag, it rewarded them with a solution. One woman tweeted she had Spanish speaking voices in her head, so Edge Shave Gel sent her a Spanish/English dictionary. Another individual tweeted about running out of cereal, so was given enough cereal to not run out for a long time.

The guide also warns a company not to be too invasive. They suggest there is little need to know anything more personal than the customer’s name. However, a bit of cyberstalking worked for airline KLM Royal Dutch Airlines when they collected information about customers’ travel plans and interests. This allowed them to surprise some customers with customised gifts before they boarded the plane. One man, traveling to Mexico to build homes for the homeless, was given bandages, muscle ointment and an energy supplement. KLM staff used his Twitter profile picture to identify him.

Canadian airline WestJet also surprised its customers with personalised gifts when they arrived at their destination. 

Other advice includes being authentic with the giving and use social media. So while it’s important for the receiver to see the random act of kindness as genuine, it’s also important that everyone, everywhere knows about it as well.

While these examples show companies acting as the do-gooders, other campaigns call on the customer to the good deeds.

Airbnb kicked off the year with a #OneLessStranger campaign which encouraged members of its community to show a random act of kindness. Airbnb donated $1 million to its members and encouraged them to spend it on a stranger.

Sugar Shack in America celebrated National Donut day with its campaign “donuts for doing good”. Police officers, firemen and paramedics as well as Sugar Shack staff handed out vouchers for a free donut to people they witness being “extra nice”.

Coca-Cola has numerous campaigns in which they complete random acts of kindness with the Coca-Cola Happiness Machine and the Coca-Cola truck. However, in its “Africa let’s go crazy!” campaign, Coca-Cola celebrated the good deeds of individuals and encouraged others to do the same. The ad highlights several acts of kindness, including a man who takes photos for free, a man who hangs swings everywhere and a man who turns leftovers into meals.

For its Super Bowl ad, McDonald’s announced it would be accepting a new form of payment- “lovin’”. Random customers were selected to pay with a phone call to their mum to tell her that they loved her, a family hug, a dance, or telling someone what they loved about them.

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