American Lung Association brings PSAs back for Christmas Seals

WASHINGTON: The American Lung Association has included PSAs in this year's Christmas Seals campaign for the first time since 1996 in order to raise visibility and stop falling revenue numbers.

WASHINGTON: The American Lung Association has included PSAs in this year's Christmas Seals campaign for the first time since 1996 in order to raise visibility and halt falling revenue numbers. The “Celebrate Another Year” campaign launched on September 18.

“Year-end giving is crucial to fundraising efforts,” said Carrie Martin, VP of communications for the American Lung Association. Martin added that Christmas Seals, holiday stamps issued by the American Lung Association for fundraising purposes, contributes 35% of direct mail revenue for the year. The organization is using 2% of its direct mail budget to fund the campaign.

Research conducted by the American Lung Association found that 60% of Americans are aware of Christmas Seals, but it wanted to capture that remaining audience.

"The campaign, while still robust, has seen the revenue level drop off in recent years,” she noted.

Martin attributes this year's PR support to the organization's new leadership, president and CEO, Chuck Connor, who was previously SVP of communications and marketing for the American Red Cross.

“In the last 15 years, we haven't invested heavily enough in PR, advertising, and marketing and that has really changed under Chuck Connor's leadership,” Martin said.

The PSAs, which will run in print, radio, and TV, as well as the other components of the campaign incorporate historic Christmas Seals images. The campaign is also forward-facing in its digital efforts. The organization has redesigned the ChristmasSeals.org Web site; made the PSAs available on the new Web site as well as on the organization's YouTube channel; created a Facebook app for visitors to share and collect their favorite Christmas Seals; and made Christmas Seals e-cards available for the first time. (The American Lung Association already had a Facebook page.)

“Our donor base does skew older,” said Martin. “The vintage approach has proven to not only resonate with baby boomers, but Gen Xers and Gen Yers. We want to extend the campaign out of mailboxes and into computers.”

The organization has also enlisted TV actress S. Epatha Merkerson as spokesperson. She will be featured in an upcoming RMT.

Distribution will focus on six markets that the organization has found to be receptive to public service marketing and has high awareness of the American Lung Association: Omaha, NE; Seattle; Chicago; Nashville, TN; Albany, NY; and Raleigh, NC. Results in these markets will help steer future campaigns.

The campaign is also seeking Christmas Seals chairpeople in each of these markets to serve as spokespeople for local media outreach.

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