Pandemic Alters Walgreens' Red Nose Day Campaign

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Pandemic Alters Walgreens' Red Nose Day Campaign

By Tim Binder - 04/20/2020

Walgreens’ sixth annual Red Nose Day campaign will have one major difference this spring, thanks to the coronavirus pandemic. The retailer won’t be selling any of the iconic red noses.

“In light of the COVID-19 global health crisis, and in an effort to help the public adhere to current health regulations to avoid face-touching, Walgreens will not be selling red noses in stores this year,” according to the Red Nose Day landing page on “We made this decision out of an abundance of concern for the safety and well-being of the people and communities we serve.”

Comic Relief’s Red Nose Day has “a mission to end child poverty by funding programs that keep children safe, healthy, and educated,” according to its website. Walgreens is one of four corporate partners in the U.S., along with NBC, Mars Wrigley Confectionery and the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.

Walgreens stores typically stock the noses, which sold for $1 in the first four years of the campaign and $2 in 2019 with five character varieties.

This year, consumers who make a donation through a link on Walgreens’ website or will receive a link to a digital red nose filter that can be used via social media. Walgreens is encouraging consumers to then share a selfie taken with the filter using #NosesOn.

In stores, Red Nose Day-themed counter units from Mars Wrigley began appearing at checkout in mid-April. The three-shelf displays stock exclusive SKUs of M&M’s, whose packaging also promotes the cause, while also dedicating the top level of the unit for the red noses and supporting wristbands, which were to be sold for $1. The displays say the campaign and the promotional pricing run from April 13 through May 30.

As it has in years past, Walgreens is promoting the campaign on its plastic shopping bags. Red Nose Day culminates with a primetime NBC broadcast on May 21.

The retailer depicted Red Nose Day ribbons next to brands/products deemed to be “Red Nose Proud Supporters” in its April 12 and 19 circulars.

Walgreens secured 25 brands as supporters, according to its website, which also provides a link to any digital coupons available for those brands.

In supporting activity, the cover of the direct mailer from Valpak Direct Marketing Systems identified Valpak as a proud supporter of Red Nose Day, while also promoting an offer of $1 off a Redbox DVD rental with the purchase of a red nose at Walgreens.

The cover also directed consumers to a Red Nose Day microsite to donate and enter for a chance to win a year’s worth of Redbox movie rentals. The sweepstakes runs April 1 through May 22.

The mailer’s cover additionally prompted consumers to “Look Inside” the envelope to see if a $20 Walgreens gift card was included.