Por­tuguese Red Cross: the store that sells hope

Exhibited by
Sofia Freitas, Director of Relationship Development, Portuguese Red Cross.
June 16, 2012
Medium of Communication
Event, face to face
Target Audience
Type of Charity
Public / society benefit
Country of Origin
Date of first appearance
December, 2008

SOFII’s view

What a wonderful idea! This exhibit from the Portuguese Red Cross demonstrates innovation, creativity and a new way to make people feel good about giving. A store selling hope enabled customers to learn about the cause of the Red Cross, to make a difference by purchasing hope and, by letting them have a normal shopping experience, they changed the way that people view the act of giving.

Creator / originator

Leo Burnett Advertising Agency, Lisbon Office, Portugal.

Summary / objectives

The Portuguese Red Cross needed to raise funds for four different social projects during the Christmas period. These included providing social aid to children and to the elderly. They also wanted to provide first-aid training and a telephone assistance service. They decided to open a temporary retail store selling hope, a product you can’t see, touch, hear or wear, but you can feel.

This project took place in December to January 2008 and 2009.


Once the idea of selling hope had been born, Portuguese Red Cross searched for the perfect spot in a popular shopping centre in Lisbon. Architects, engineers and creative designers worked together in record time to build the store.

The store was heavily promoted in print media, on the internet, TV and the radio. The goal was for people to feel as though they were having a normal experience of shopping – even though they would leave with their hands empty, their hearts would be full.

Special characteristics

The initial concept for the first store in 2008 was for it took look like a clothing store, but instead of clothing customers could buy vouchers. These came in three sizes, small, medium and large. These corresponded to different donation levels of five, 10, or 25 euros. Customers could buy hope for one of their favourite projects and could even learn more about the work of the Portuguese Red Cross in a specially designed ‘cloakroom’ that was also in the store.

In 2009, the concept behind the hope store was based on a book shop. The store was filled with ‘stories of hope’, which were blank books with pictures of each of the projects on the cover. Customers could listen to stories from the Red Cross on audiobooks throughout the store and could purchase hope in the shape of a bookmark.

Influence / impact

In 2008, the store selling hope was a huge success. With so much promotion, hundreds of people had queued up outside the shop before it had opened and hundreds of vouchers were sold. Additionally, the Portuguese Red Cross received much support from their partners and suppliers in order to build the store with minimal costs.

In 2009, the store selling hope was less successful. This may have been because the store itself was in a less central location and because of the economic climate of the time.


The Portuguese Red Cross store selling hope demonstrates brilliant innovation and creativity. By doing something new and different, they provided a wonderful alternative gift for Christmas and also changed the way that people view the act of giving.

Other relevant information

The Leo Burnett Agency has won several awards for this project, including the Cannes Lion Award in 2009.

PRC Store selling hope film

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This is an example of one of the many press adverts for the store that sold hope. The project received a huge amount of media attention, in newspapers, online, on TV and on the radio.
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The store logo.
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This was the layout of the first store in 2008.
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Customers could buy three types of vouchers for five, ten or twenty-five euros.