Orkin's cause campaign targets pests in Africa

ATLANTA: Orkin Pest Control launched a cause campaign, Fight the Bite, with a goal of raising $100,000 for 10,000 insecticide-treated bed nets for use in Africa. PR firm Jackson Spalding is handling the campaign.

ATLANTA: Orkin Pest Control launched a cause campaign, Fight the Bite, with a goal of raising $100,000 for 10,000 insecticide-treated bed nets for use in Africa. PR firm Jackson Spalding is handling the campaign.

Orkin partnered with the United Nations Foundation and the Centers for Disease Control on the project, which seeks to cut down on the number of malaria-related deaths in Africa.

“We were challenged a year ago by our chairman to come up with a big idea, and we hadn't done anything on a grand scale since our 100th anniversary [in 2001],” said Martha Craft, Orkin assistant VP of PR. “All the stars aligned, and [employees came up with it] in a brainstorming session, it was not only a big idea, but one that had a charitable tie to it, so everyone looked at each other and said, ‘That's it.'

The PR budget for the campaign is about $175,000, according to Whitney Miller, Jackson Spalding account lead for Orkin Residential.

The campaign, which began April 1 and runs through August 31, is targeting consumers with a Web site (nets.orkin.com), an e-mail blast, and city tours in conjunction with the UN's sister campaign, Nothing but Nets. It also promoted the campaign at World Malaria Day in New York April 25. Customers can contribute $10 online to help purchase a net and teach its recipient how to effectively use it. Additionally, Orkin committed to donating one net for every mosquito service it sells this season.

Jackson Spalding reached out to national and Atlanta-based media with the consumer campaign, and although Orkin's customer base skews female, it also directed the campaign toward college students, investors, religious groups, and sports fans, Miller said.

Craft added that the company joined the initiative in part to unite employees through a good cause. Internal communications tied to the effort include making use of an employee Web site, a closed-circuit television announcement by Orkin CEO and COO Glen Rollins, and an event at Orkin's Atlanta headquarters.

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