Mixed Signals: Red Cross Invites You to Give More than Stuff

Mixed Signals is Erin Straza’s weekly musing about marketing miscellany in advertising, branding, and messaging.

At this late date, I bet most of you have finished your Christmas shopping. But if you haven’t, here’s a gift idea from an unlikely source: Red Cross.

In its new TV campaign, Red Cross beckons: “This year, let’s take a break from all this stuff and give something that means something.” Their first spot is titled “2011 Holiday Giving with Fred.”

Not only is the animation brilliant, the message matches it. Seeing piles of stuff strips consumerism of its sparkle. And the call to action is clear and inspirational: Give a gift to Red Cross in someone’s name.

A second spot reaches out to all of us who love making New Year’s resolutions. It’s titled “2011 Resolve to Give PSA.”

This spot’s messaging hits at the core of a resolution: to make life changes so that your quality of life is better than it was during the previous year. Red Cross takes it a step higher: make life changes so that someone else’s life is better than it was during the previous year.

I like that both messages place a positive spin on acts that receive lots of flak: Christmas shopping and resolution-making. Neither of these are evil acts, but their meaning can be lost when they’re done without heart. Red Cross calls us back to meaning, back to heartfelt giving and caring.

And this is the Gospel’s message — not that we must stop all gift-giving or life-changing resolutions, but that we do them to show the deepest kind of love, the kind that lays down its life for another. That’s the reason we celebrate God’s gift to us in Christ Jesus, and that’s the reason we have hope for change.

I hope these two spots have encouraged you as much as they have encouraged me. Merry Christmas gift-giving and Happy New Year’s resolution-making to you!

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  • Gloria Huang

    Hi Erin! I work for the Red Cross and came across your post at work today. Thanks for talking about our PSA and for your kind words! I’m glad to hear that it inspired you. :) Have a wonderful Christmas and happy new year!