In its third year, the Kangaroo Express Salute Our Troops campaign’s “do well, do good” philosophy strives to unify military support initiatives and foster strong relationships with business partners, employees and communities rallying to show pride and support for the military. In addition to a yearly goal of raising $1 million for military support organizations including the USO and Fisher House Foundation, Salute Our Troops looks to activate its local markets to bring stakeholders together toward a common and meaningful system-wide cause. With more than 1,600 stores in 13 states, Kangaroo Express has supported the military and families for years. More than half of its stores are located within 25 miles of a military installation, and a third of its employees have a strong personal connection to the military. Leveraging this connection, Largemouth sought to amplify Kangaroo Express’ engagement with its customers and communities. PR programming for this award-winning campaign included a multi-state vehicle tour, unique in-store activation and even a skydiving congressman.
In 2013, the campaign featured in-store donations, a branded motorsports dragster and its driver, U.S. Army veteran Don O’Neal was the centerpiece of a caravan and local news “machine” that traveled to more than 80 communities in eight states throughout the Southeast, driving awareness and store traffic across the Kangaroo Express footprint. Largemouth leveraged dragster store-stops to pitch on-site print and broadcast interviews, delivering key messages surrounding Kangaroo Express’ support of the military. Public officials were also invited to participate. The campaign was recognized by governors, lieutenant governors and senators across the Southeast. Congressman Joe Wilson even completed a tandem skydive into a military family event in Sumter, S.C. with an all-veteran paratrooper team to endorse Kangaroo Express and its support of the military. Comedian and actor Rob Riggle also tweeted his support for the campaign to his more than 1.4 million followers. Largemouth also leveraged in-store and category promotions. On National Hot Dog Day, Largemouth promoted a 25-cent hot dog deal across all key markets, encouraging guests to donate their savings to the campaign. This resulted in a large spike in both hot dog sales and donations. A Kangaroo Express Salute Our Troops team was also entered into the national Red Bull Flugtag contest with a homemade, human-power flying craft created by the U.S. Veteran Corps and designed using photos of Kangaroo Express customers sharing white board messages of support to the troops.
The Salute Our Troops motorsports tour reached more than 62 million media impressions, nearly double those earned in 2012. This included national FOX News and USA Today coverage of Congressman Joe Wilson’s tandem jump. Social media engagement with the campaign soared to new levels with Kangaroo Express’ Facebook page experiencing a 119 percent year-over-year increase in people talking about the page and fans engaging with Instagram posts an average of 10 times more than the year prior. Salute Our Troops continues to unify and amplify Kangaroo Express’ support for the military. The program is consistently recognized as a store traffic driver and employee motivator by Kangaroo Express leadership. It has been recognized in PR Week, noting that the public relations team, “clearly understands how to align with and drive stakeholder passions.” It is also consistently recognized by the North Carolina Public Relations Society of America, winning the organization’s top award two years in a row, as well as PR News’ corporate social responsibility awards, winning back-to-back honorable mentions.