For Operation Christmas Child’s 2011 National Collection Week, we were challenged to take this Samaritan’s Purse project that had already received 18 years of attention and make it seem fresh and new.

We created and implemented a publicity event in New York unlike anything we had ever done—a “shoebox blitz” of volunteers dressed in life-size shoebox gift costumes. We trained the 100-strong volunteer army on street-marketing tactics, developed walking routes to effectively canvas the city and handled every detail of the event. The appearances began on national morning show plazas and included famous landmarks around Manhattan.

Through ads, social media integration and specialized collateral material handed out by the shoebox characters, passersby were activated and driven to a customized website for more information. Complementary efforts of texting, real-time social media updates, blogger collaborations, other online tie-ins and media relations maximized the PR event.

The blitz garnered more than 20 million potential impressions through television, print and radio coverage. Additionally, 72 online news sites posted and/or linked to our news release. Finally, in the week following the event, Operation Christmas Child’s Facebook fan count grew by 26,000 followers.