Best Practices: Western Union’s Thanks a Thousand Campaign

The Western Union Thanks a Thousand Campaign, was a very strong contender for the 2012 PortadaTop Hispanic Digital Advertising Campaign Plan and Execution Award which was won by Dr. Seuss / The Lorax (Lopez Negrete Communications). The Western Union campaign had a strong Hispanic component but also targeted Mexico and Canada.
Below is a detailed description of the Western Union Thanks a Thousand Campaign:

  1. Background & Objective

•          This campaign is a multi-national program covering Canada, the U.S, and Mexico designed to win the Mother’s Day season and other key seasonal gifting occasions like graduations, weddings and Father’s Day that occur in May and June.  Special emphasis was placed on the General Market, African American and Hispanic consumer segments.
•          The communication objective focused on positioning Western Union as the best destination for sending the gift of money by driving awareness of the brand’s special offer and large and convenient retail and online network.
The campaign was coordinated by Juan Pablo Valdes, VP Integrated Marketing Communications & Planning, North America.

2. Strategy & Campaign Elements

Two Key pillars:
•              Drive brand visibility and top of mind via a multi-lingual engagement online/mobile platform requesting user-generated content in exchange for the opportunity to win $1,000 daily for consumers and Western Union Agents’ front line associates and Western Union’s employees.
•          Increase trial and accelerate growth of the business by attracting switchers and seasonal users by communicating Western Union as the best destination for sending the gift of money during the gifting season in traditional and non-traditional media outlets.  All messaging across touch points evolved as the calendar of gifting occasions progressed thus connecting the Western Union gift of money with each occasion (Mother’s Day, Weddings, Graduations and Father’s Day).

The campaign was activated with a 360 approach that included a top celebrity (Common), broadcast, public relations, digital, social media, direct to consumer, retail presence and grassroots.  Highlights of the program between April 16 and June 19 included:

   3. Digital/Social Media:
The campaign was kicked off with the launch of “Thanks a Thousand” sweepstakes which encouraged consumers to express their gratitude to a loved one who has played a significant role in their lives via a personalized video, photo, or a brief essay.  For a chance to win $1,000 every day, consumers uploaded to the dedicated site in English, Spanish and French (website: and Broader visibility and engagement reached via coordinated display advertising in English and Spanish, paid search, search engine optimization, integration and social media interaction.

Celebrity spokesperson:
Grammy award winning singer, writer and actor, Common, was secured as celebrity spokesperson which helped with national and local media, in-studio interviews, Facebook and Twitter posts and a private appearance at the launch event in NY for Media, Agents and high-value consumers.

Traditional Media:
Established strong media presence via national cable, network TV as well as network and local radio for the General Market, African American and Hispanic markets.   

Media Partnerships:
Augmented partnerships with Univision, Telemundo, BET, ESPN2 Mike and Mike, Tom Joyner, and others, to drive visibility beyond TV and radio spots via key, customized network TV and Radio segment integrations with key hosts, celebrities and relevant DJ personalities with key properties in General market, African American and Hispanic media.  

Activated retail network with over 45 out-of-store programs and 5 de Mayo events in two weekends with key partner retail agents (such as Pay-O-Matic, HEB, Rite-Aid, Pathmark and others) across top markets in the U.S to augment street-level visibility.

4. Results:

Overall, the campaign over-delivered versus estimates and generated great consumer engagement.
•          Transaction results versus year ago and versus the previous three months for key businesses, increased by up to 6% traceable to improvement in acquisition and repeat use.
•          The Thanks A Thousand platform produced strong consumer engagement:
Over 618,000 pageviews (online and mobile)
Nearly 48,000 promotion submissions (photo, essay and video) in English, Spanish and French by Consumers, Employees and Agents in the US, Mexico and Canada.  Thanks A Thousand generated 3 times more submissions than the typical user generated content promotions.
The strongest consumer engagement yet among the Hispanic and GM/AA Segments resulting in the highest click-through rates of 409% and 135% respectively from the Thanks A Thousand platform to
Social media amplified Western Union’s reach by 30%
•          Research shows that the Thanks A Thousand campaign effectively increased awareness, familiarity, and consideration for the Western Union gift of money, and enhanced brand perception.(Pre-Post Campaign Effectiveness Study, July 25.12)

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Editorial Staff (@portada_online)

Portada is the leading source of news and analysis on the Latin Marketing and Media space. Credibility is our biggest asset: The Portada team is very passionate about producing high-quality independent content that helps drive forward the Latin Marketing and Media space.
El equipo editorial de Portada se apasiona por elaborar contenidos de alta calidad. La credibilidad es nuestro mayor activo. La misión de Portada es ayudar a profesionales de negocios y medios a comprender y alcanzar a consumidores latinoamericanos, del mercado hispano de EE UU y España.


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