American Lung Association Launches Retro Marketing Initiative to Support 2009 Christmas Seals® Campaign

From “lick it and stick it” to “click it and send it,” charity expands historic mail campaign to web

Washington, DC (September 18, 2009)

 

Note to Editors: The Christmas Seals vintage ad campaign is featured in the New York Times, September 18, 2009, B1 and B3.

The American Lung Association launched a new retro marketing initiative today to support its 2009 Christmas Seals Campaign, the year-end holiday fundraising drive that's been raising money to support the charity's fight for healthy lungs and healthy air for more than a century. While for-profit companies have had proven success in recent years using vintage packaging to sell products like cards, cereal and soft drinks, the Lung Association has developed a flashback branding campaign to boost year-end fundraising with the theme, "Celebrate Another Year." 

The Christmas Seals Campaign is the nation's oldest direct-mail fundraising campaign, which began in 1907 to combat tuberculosis. In fact, a survey conducted by the Lung Association found that 60 percent of Americans are aware of Christmas Seals, and that this awareness correlates strongly with age: older Americans have greater familiarity. 

"We're hoping that this campaign will appeal not only to older Americans, who remember 'licking and sticking' their first Christmas Seal, but also to a younger demographic, who may not have heard of Christmas Seals but are attracted to all things vintage," said Charles Connor, President and CEO of the American Lung Association. 

Today, the Lung Association remains the third largest nonprofit mailer, and fights new battles against influenza, asthma, tobacco use, lung cancer and air pollution. This year, it will send Christmas Seals – decorative stamps used to decorate holiday cards and packages – to over 11 million households from October to December. In return, people send in contributions, which last year, brought in 35 percent of the charity's total direct mail revenue. 

The last time the American Lung Association supported the Christmas Seals Campaign with advertising was in 1996. This year, in a creative effort to appeal to people's sense of nostalgia, the American Lung Association, brought three historic Christmas Seals to life in 15-, 20- and 30-second television public service advertisements, which will be distributed nationwide in mid-October, and can be viewed on ChristmasSeals.org. The charity also developed print and radio public service advertisements, all of which will drive people to the newly redesigned ChristmasSeals.org.  

"We continue to be thankful for the loyalty of our Christmas Seals supporters, many of whom have given year-after-year for several decades, and in some cases, for half a century," continued Connor. "While we hope that this new marketing push re-energizes our existing mail donors, we also hope to introduce Christmas Seals to a new generation of supporters via the web," said Connor.

Even though, according to the U.S. Postal Service, Americans sent nearly 20 billion pieces of mail last holiday season, more and more people are choosing to send holiday greetings online.   So for the first time this year, people can visit ChristmasSeals.org to view over one hundred years of Christmas Seals that they can either send in an e-card to friends or loved ones. Additionally, a Facebook application was developed so people can collect and share Christmas Seals with their social network.   

Also new this year is an array of Christmas Seals gift merchandise that the Lung Association is offering for purchase on ChristmasSeals.org. Vintage products include wrapping paper, adhesive gift tags, lapel pins and holiday ornaments. The items are sold individually and cost between $5 and $12.95. The charity is featuring a unique gift, "Christmas in a Box," which retails for $75 and features a collection of Christmas Seals merchandise at a 20 percent discount. Proceeds from the sale of all these items will help support the mission of the Lung Association. 

Throughout its history, the American Lung Association's Christmas Seals campaign has been supported by celebrities and entertainers ranging from Bob Hope to the Smothers Brothers. Leading the charge as the 2009 National Celebrity Christmas Seals Chairperson is actress S. Epatha Merkerson, an Emmy, Golden Globe and SAG Award winner, Ms. Merkerson has won critical acclaim for her brilliant work in theatre, television and film, but is probably best known for her role as Lt. Anita Van Buren on NBC-TV's "Law & Order."  

For more information on the American Lung Association's Christmas Seals Campaign, visit www.ChristmasSeals.org, or call Carrie Martin 202-420-1141. 

About the American Lung Association 
Now in its second century, the American Lung Association is the leading organization working to save lives by improving lung health and preventing lung disease. With your generous support, the American Lung Association is "Fighting for Air" through research, education and advocacy. For more information about the American Lung Association, a Charity Navigator Four Star Charity and holder of the Better Business Bureau Wise Giving Guide Seal, or to support the work it does, call 1-800-LUNG-USA (1-800-586-4872) or visit www.lung.org.