March to a Million | 2016
A travelling, pop-up event designed to connect Operation Gratitude’s base of 50,000 volunteers across the country for the first time.
Client: Operation Gratitude
Audience: Operation Gratitude volunteers
Role: creative director, video producer
Taking Operation Gratitude on the road
At Operation Gratitude events, thousands of volunteers gather to assemble handwritten letters and care packages for U.S. Military deployed overseas. These “assembly events” had historically been held at Operation Gratitude HQ in Los Angeles and it was our task to conceive of and design the city-to-city, pop-up assembly event experience.
Creating an identity for a cause
As a non-profit, Operation Gratitude had historically relied on sponsors to provide signage for each event so part of our assignment was to create branded collateral to ensure all of their events looked like Operation Gratitude events. Everything needed to be lightweight, durable, and designed to be easily and efficiently packed and shipped to the next city. We took our cues from military equipment which is designed within those same parameters.
The volunteer experience
Volunteers gather in select cities to assemble care packages and handwritten letters for military deployed overseas. Each volunteer grabs a box and moves down a long assembly line table filling it with comforting items (candy, dvds, etc.) to remind the recipient of home. At the end of the line, they drop in a letter from Operation Gratitude’s stash of handwritten, donated letters. When the package is complete they hit a giant red button to ‘count’ the package in the march to a million packages. The event also included public appearances by the Operation Gratitude CEO, and local military veteran heros.
At the inaugural event of this exhibit Operation Gratitude reached 1.5 million total packages and has since delivered 296,000 more. The event was featured on ABC’s “The Chew,” which has a viewership of roughly 2.9 million. This national attention is especially notable since it was the first time an Operation Gratitude event had been strategically branded.