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Branded Eye Masks as Direct Marketing Tactic Help Deliver “Huge Increase” in Program Interest for Birthright Israel NEXT


Challenge: To increase interest in a backend program for Jewish young adults attending organized trips to Israel.

Since its founding, Taglit-Birthright Israel, a partnership between the people of Israel through their government, local Jewish communities and leading Jewish philanthropists, has sent more than 200,000 Jewish young adults aged 18 to 26, hailing from 52 countries, on free, ten-day trips to Israel. The trips serve to strengthen participants’ personal Jewish identity and connection to the Jewish people, as well as a sense of solidarity among the world’s Jewish people.

According to Birthright Israel, however, that 10-day experience is just the beginning, thus the reason for Birthright Israel NEXT, an organization that inspires participants to expand their new-found spark into a lasting, resonating life-long celebration of the Jewish heritage. To help fulfill this mission, NEXT gives participants up to $400 to host Shabbat meals for Jewish and non-Jewish friends in the belief that sharing meals at home in our fast-food, on-the-go society is key to forming lasting bonds and strong communities.

To promote the NEXT Shabbat program, Birthright Israel NEXT decided to give program participants a branded promotional gift they could use on the flights to and from Israel and on bus trips from site to site during their travels in Israel. The team brainstormed amongst themselves and with program alumni, finally dreaming up the perfect campaign product: a branded sleep mask.

Solution: Sleep masks for use during the trip branded with information on the after program.

Account Manager Lonni Ornstein helped the team locate an eye mask not available on the ePromos site: a soft, satiny sleepy-time mask available in black, blue, gray and burgundy. The team chose gray with a clever maroon imprint, “Dreaming of your NEXT Shabbat Dinner,” followed by the Birthright Israel NEXT web address. The team felt that participants would use the masks frequently on their Israeli trip—and they’d also take them home as a remembrance of both the trip itself and the experience-extending NEXT Shabbat program.

Result: Masks’ form and function please recipients, deliver “Huge Increase” in post-trip program.

Twenty five hundred newly branded eye masks later, the team began giving them alongside other marketing materials at the end of December, with the bulk of the masks being slated for a January Taglit-Birthright Israel Mega Event featuring Israeli dignitaries, musicians, performers and thousands of trip participants from around the world.

The team reports that the masks went quickly, with recipients sharing pleasing remarks on both their form and function. Even better, Birthright Israel NEXT explained, that the masks helped to bolster interest in the NEXT Shabbat program, and may have aided in the increase of registered NEXT Shabbat meals. And we call that yet another promotional success!


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Birthright Israel Next Sleep Masks Direct Marketing Campaign (PDF Version).

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