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Five For Friday – Random Acts Of Kindness

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After a bit of a hiatus, we’re excited to bring back the Five For Friday feature. It’s back from vacation and ready to kick some ass, so let’s dive right in. This week’s topic is a fun one – random acts of kindness. It’s a subject I’ve been keeping my eye on for a while now, as I believe this type of approach can yield some very positive benefits, as long as it’s executed in a genuine manner.

Coke Happiness Machine & Happiness Truck

– What I like most about Coke’s efforts is the ever-evolving nature of the “Happiness Machine” concept. It started in TV spots alone, then took physical-world form throughout college campuses and is now going mobile (that’s “vehicle mobile”, not “phone mobile”).

Edge Shave Zone’s Anti-Irritation Twitter Campaign

– The folks over at Edge helped highlight one of the most crucial – and challenging – parts of performing random acts of kindness; flexibility and adaptability. They employed two full-time staffers dedicated to monitor the Twittersphere and react appropriately to #soirritating comments.

KLM’s How Happiness Spreads Foursquare Tactic

– Though there was some dispute in the marketing world about the Dutch airline potentially crossing the line into “cyber stalker” land, I’d rather focus on the great use of Foursquare. Taking Edge’s notion of adaptability even further, the KLM crew monitored Foursquare check-ins and social media sites to index travelers’ complaints, then performed real-time online research on those travelers to come up with a special gift delivered before their next flight. The level of customization here is impressive.

Shaq Attack & Lunch w/ Ochocinco

– Interestingly enough, two of the early adopters of random acts of kindness weren’t even tied to everyday consumer brands. Pro athletes Shaquille O’Neal and Chad Ochocinco have been organizing random meet-ups, lunches and autographed item scavenger hunts since as early as 2009. It’s not everyday an Average Joe gets the opportunity to break bread with one of the biggest athletes in the world, but we’ve seen it happen time and time again and, as a result, we’ve watched the general reputation of these guys sky rocket.

Heineken’s “Million Fan Thank You” Hug Ambush

– Another great example of successfully marrying the online with the offline, Heineken set out to thank its fans for 1 million Facebook “likes” with street teams ready to hug. My favorite part of this approach is that it’s not tied to finances – no gifts, no product involvement, no discounts. Ironically, it also manages to use the one thing a social network cannot provide (an in-the-flesh hug) to celebrate online connections.


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Growth obsessed startup co-founder (MusicBox) and strategist-for-hire.

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