Red Nose Day: Walgreens, NBC, and M&M’S & Comic Relief USA
Started in the UK in 1988, Red Nose Day was built on the idea that the power of entertainment can drive positive change, using humor, laughter and, of course, red noses to raise funds for a serious issue. Brought to the US in 2015 with a mission to end child poverty, the multi-week campaign culminates on Red Nose Day, raising funds through a variety of tactics with key corporate partners Walgreens, NBC, and M&M’S.
Building on the core elements of the campaign – a special night of TV programming, nationwide in-store activations, and grassroots fundraising across the country – Red Nose Day continued to push those boundaries in 2017 through an evolved creative approach to deliver dynamic, multi-platform executions that spanned broadcast, online and offline. The campaign focused on extending the mass reach of Red Nose Day to shed light on a serious issue at scale, as well as increasing consumer understanding of the cause, while encouraging participation and donations.
As the official retailer of the iconic Red Nose since 2015, Walgreens encouraged its customers, employees, and suppliers to buy and wear the Red Noses, take selfies and spread the word through social media, and support the nationwide U.S. fundraising effort. In total, Walgreens and its employees sold 10.6 million Red Noses and helped raise more than $20M. In addition, Walgreens saw over 50% more cash donations at the register YoY, and a 10% uplift in Red Nose sales. The number of brands participating in-store at Walgreens grew from ~30 in 2016 to 75+ in 2017, representing 40+ different supplier companies, including Coca-Cola, Duracell, Starbucks, Orbit, Starburst, L’Oreal and others.
NBC is the exclusive broadcast TV partner of the campaign, with a special night of primetime programming celebrating Red Nose Day and promotional support across Comcast and NBCUniversal. While television has always been an integral part of the Red Nose Day campaign, in 2017 NBC significantly evolved and expanded their Red Nose Day line-up. NBC celebrated the day with three hours of primetime Red Nose Day-themed programming, which included special editions of existing NBC properties ‘Celebrity Ninja Warrior for Red Nose Day’ and ‘Running Wild with Bear Grylls for Red Nose Day” for the first time. NBC’s night of TV – the culmination of six-week campaign – delivered huge increases in viewers, buzz, and donations. The unique and dynamic programming saw total viewers and donations nearly double year-on-year, “The Red Nose Day Special” rated #1 in its time-slot among 18-49s, “Running Wild with Bear Grylls for Red Nose Day” won the hour in total viewers, and “Celebrity Ninja Warrior” finished #1 with millennial viewers.
M&M’S has been a national partner of Red Nose Day since the campaign launched in the United States in 2015. In 2017, the M&M’S Red Nose Day program helped spur a 15% sales lift for M&M’S in comparison to the same time frame in 2016. It also generated over 203MM traditional media, social and digital impressions. Additionally, M&M’S donated $1,250,000 to the Red Nose Day fund, bringing their three year total donation to over $3,500,000.
The combined efforts of key partners and the support of countless Americans helped raise over $40M for Red Nose Day in 2017. Since its launch in 2015, Red Nose Day in the U.S. has raised over $100 million and has sold 30 million of the campaign’s iconic Red Noses, positively impacting the lives of more than 8.3 million children living in poverty. Money raised through the Red Nose Day campaign has supported programs in all 50 U.S. states, Puerto Rico, and 34 countries internationally. It has helped to fund numerous programs to ensure that children in need are safe, healthy and educated, which includes providing more than 32 million meals for hungry American children. Both at home and abroad, Red Nose Day funds have also helped to deliver essential medical services for more than 6.7 million children, educational support for more than 850,000 children, and care for more than 60,000 homeless children and young people.