Sears Heroes at Home

[Agency: Havas PR North America]

Challenge: Havas PR North America used the power of storytelling when Sears Holdings Corp. challenged us to develop a breakthrough PR initiative for its Heroes at Home program, which helps rebuild veterans’ homes and provides holiday gift cards to active servicepeople. We needed to increase awareness and help people remember our veterans when donating their money, especially in light of donor fatigue from recent natural disasters.

Actions: We created the “Portraits of Heroes” song contest to humanize real service members and show consumers the people whom Sears’ program serves daily. Our agency secured former Marine and country music star Josh Gracin to transform the winning story into the hit song “Can’t Say Goodbye.” We helped publicize the music video through traditional and social media, and we leveraged events year-round for maximum media coverage.

Results: Our platform created newsworthy content to promote the cause and a strong emotional imprint with consumers and media. The music video has received 105,000-plus views on YouTube alone, and media impressions are 87 million and growing. And, most important, Heroes at Home’s fourth annual campaign, in 2011, generated more than $4 million (plus $3,200 from album royalties).