Once Upon a Time, Walt Disney Company Made a Very Wise PR Move

By: Beth Kneisler, Account Assistant, Leonard & Finco Public Relations

Walt Disney Company recently announced it’s going to give up to as many as 1 million amusement-park passes to people who volunteer in their communities for one day. What Disney has done is team up with HandsOn Network, which is a clearinghouse for volunteer opportunities and helps connect people with volunteer projects, as well as certifying the work was done. Once the day of work is complete, volunteers will be able to print out an online certificate which can be redeemed at a Disney park through 2010 (for info visit www.disneyparks.disney.go.com).

Regardless how you feel about this promotion, or if you’d even care to spend a day with Mickey and all his friends, I think we all can agree that this is a very smart PR move for Disney.

Initially, Disney was looking for new promotional ideas that would help increase business at its parks and resorts since their profits have taken a pretty hard hit this past year. So, rather than simply discount or give away free tickets, they tied a community service component in with the promotion. The minds at Disney know that establishing community good-will by placing an emphasis on volunteering or giving back is good business. Period!

Everyone likes a business or company that is community minded and, if you’re like me, you actually choose to support certain companies over others because of this.

Think about your own business or place of employment. Chances are you aren’t giving free tickets away to theme parks, so I’d love to hear how your business or organization gives back to the local community, and what value you see from that activity. If you’re currently not doing much, remember, it’s time to start thinking like the minds at Disney, because they’re definitely on to something!