The Polish Red Cross: Very Good Manners

Exhibited by
October 25, 2017
Medium of Communication
Event, Social Media, Press, TV
Target Audience
Regular giving
Type of Charity
Public/society benefit
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
November 5th, 2014

SOFII’s view

This campaign by the Polish Red Cross showcases guerilla marketing at its most effective and innovative. By teaming up with restaurants across the country, they and their agency, Cheil, showed ambition and desire to reach as many people as possible, whilst the means of donation was simple and hassle-free. As a result, the number of donations was remarkable.

Summary / objectives

One in four Polish children can’t afford a regular hot meal. The Polish Red Cross wanted to raise awareness and money for malnourished children by urging restaurant-goers to make a donation at the end of their meal. The Very Good Manners campaign partnered with restaurants to use specially printed placemats that showed diners how, simply by arranging their cutlery into a cross on their finished plate they could add 1.5 euro to their bill, which would be donated to the Polish Red Cross – enough for one hot meal for a child in need.


In Poland, charitable giving is often something people do a few times a year, but rarely is it a regular habit. Cheil Poland creative Wojtek Kowalik says the goal was to make donating a habit because one-time fundraising too often results only in one-time relief.

‘Most Poles support charities only once or twice a year, it’s not we do something every day. Malnourishment among children is a social issue, thus the solution has to lie within the social fabric too. So to make people want to donate we turned donating into a rule of good conduct. And because the cause was all about food it seemed perfectly natural to focus on restaurants, which is where good manners and eating come together.'


The campaign took off all around the country, resulting in 15,000,000 impressions and more than €800,000 in earned media, and increased donations to the aid organisation by 65 per cent.

Creator / originator

The Polish Red Cross and Cheil.

Special characteristics

The use of table mats is an effective but not too forceful way of connecting straight to donors. The mats don’t clash with the aesthetics of the restaurants but immediately attract attention with a simple message. The campaign is particularly clever in the way it associates the global crisis of malnourishment with the act of eating out in the developed world. By encouraging diners to make a cross if they want to donate, the campaign underlines the Red Cross brand in the donors’ minds, integrating it into their dining experience.

Cheil wanted to make the act as simple and easy as possible, which meant doing away with registering or logging onto a website, and downloading apps, among others. 

‘We needed a seamless way of getting people involved, so it was necessary to tap into something that customers do anyway – use cutlery to communicate with the waiting staff. And The Red Cross logo fits just perfectly there.’

Influence / impact

The success in Poland could lead to the campaign being rolled out across the European Union.