Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Do Over Day: Social (Marketing) Ideas at Their Best

February 26 is Do Over Day
- a better, funnier, more genuine holiday that Valentine's Day or Family Day. Righting the wrong, reliving the right. Picked up by bloggers, general media, and everyday folks, including a Toronto teacher who gave her students a Do Over Day project. A great phenomenon, that caught on like wild fire, that legitimized the need for everyone to openly and honestly revisit what we love most in our lives and what we, if given the chance, would simply do over.

Never heard of Do Over Day
? It is time you caught on - Google has 234,000,000 listing for it (well, ok, maybe not all of them are for that same Do Over Day, but you get the point). So let me tell you about it - Do Over Day aims to answer this one simple question: What would you do over? Right now, today, tomorrow, next month, next year.

It started, just before the holidays, with a few creative minds
up in Toronto who were tired of sending their clients the same old gift baskets and holiday cards each year. So they asked a simple question: what can we do different? They kicked around a few ideas and checked what was available - apparently Super Hero Day
and Jump in a Puddle and Splash a Friend Day
were taken. Then someone said: what about a Do Over Day? What if, instead of traditional gifts and well wishes, the team could send cards to all their clients asking them to save the date, the date being February 26th.

The idea was the right one - totally inoffensive, funny, cheeky, with global appeal - for young and old, for churchgoers, and hipsters. The timing was right - past Valentine's day, new US President just elected, symbolic for hope, nothing else really going on for Canadians, who despite what you might think, really don't like long winters.

The team went on and developed the Do Over Day web site
. Which kicked some serious gear into motion - the design came from Mssngr
, and the writing - from Paul Fenn
- two creative geniuses (and yes, I have worked with them in the past many times - but you would too if you knew them). Next came the gift baskets for their clients - in there were funny t-shirts (one read: In your case I guess it is going to be more like a Hair-Do Over Day), and Do Over kits with 5 different pads with 5 different Do Over sayings on them, Do Over pencils, and Do Over erasers.

But then the team felt they were onto something - something much bigger than a clever thank you campaign for their clients for the Holiday Season. So they enlisted the help of other creative minds - Lifecapture
- helped the chat rooms and forums get started, a PR partner helped get the media interested. Now the goal was to legitimize Do Over Day. The focus was to create a fun project that made a difference - not some marketing scam. The team then launched a Twitter account
, a YouTube channel, and a Facebook fan club
. They went on a commissioned an Ipsos Reid study to find out what Canadians would mostly want to do over. All this with no money spent – the only paid media was a printed insert of the eCards in the Toronto Metro newspaper, which people could cut out, fill in the back, and send to friends.

February 26th rolled around and all major Toronto TV and radio stations picked up the holiday. CityTV was out on the streets interviewing people, the new Virgin radio station had people calling in with their Do Over wishes, the web site was getting record hits, the posts on the site were coming in – video and text responses from people from all walks of live. The reaction from all levels – from the general public, the media, and the clients of these same creative minds, was of total acceptance. Do Over Day was a legitimate holiday, with a viral following, much bigger than how it started.

Missed Do Over Day this year? You have nothing to worry about – there’s always next year. Consider yourself lucky – now you have almost a year to make your Do Over wish list to share.

As for the folks behind the idea – they sure boosted their reputation – their clients now come to them and ask for a Do Over Day-like campaign for their brands. You can do it too – you just have to commit to do over the Do Over Day success. Good luck!


  1. Food for thought par excellance! Good luck with yet another new venue for you :-) It does sound profound and cheerful at the same time. I loved all three of them, made me think...
    Great new biginning, Lorich! Forwarded to a bunch of friends and colleagues who might take interest...
    Maya K, St. Louis

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