Make A Wish — Share Your Ears Campaign

Kendall Reid
Kendall Reid — BCA 332 Blog
7 min readNov 26, 2018


Make-A-Wish is a nonprofit organization that grants wishes to children who are critically ill. Wishes are experiences that children dream of doing such as going to Disney, visiting their favorite sports team, walking the red carpet, etc.

Below is an infographic with some facts about the Make-A-Wish organization taken from their website.

Infograph by Kendall Reid

The Walt Disney Company partnered with Make-A-Wish for the third year in a row for their “Share Your Ears” campaign. Share Your Ears is a social media campaign that not only encourages people to post pictures of themselves with creative ears but for every post, Disney donates $5. This is a promotional and charitable campaign. This year they had two phases of the campaign which was new, they expanded on it because they had so much success in the first phase. This was done in celebration of Mickey Mouse’s 90th birthday which was November 18.

Every time Disney does this campaign in November, they try to out do themselves from the previous year. The campaign first started in honor of Disneyland’s 60th anniversary in 2015. They donated a total of $2 million that year because of the overwhelming success. The numbers were insane, over 1.7 million photos were posted under #ShareYourEars. That lead to over 54 million media impressions and 420 million impressions on Twitter, Facebook and Instagram. Although Disney donated $2 million to Make-A-Wish, they still made profit off their 60th anniversary limited edition ears. They made about $150,000 in profit off those ears.

Here is a short video from that introduces the campaign.

Disney really took initiative on this campaign to have it blow up on social media within the month of November 2018. Social media is the best way to spread a message rapidly, reliably, cheaply and efficiently. This campaign quickly spread on social media. In order for the campaign to be tracked, the hashtag of #ShareYourEars was used.

By using a hashtag, it makes it easier for the campaign to be tracked. An article from New Bird Designs called 5 Reasons Why Instagram Hashtags Are Important discusses the importance behind using hashtags for marketing campaigns. The first reason is because of competition. Knowing what the competition’s hashtags are makes it easier to step it up. It also helps to figure out what works best for others. Branding and visibility are the next two. These go hand and hand because if you are able to brand then the there is a good visibility and vice versa. Branding is essential because it is the ultimate image for the company. For example, when #ShareYourEars is used there is a sense of branding because of the ears part. Disney is known for their ear image because of Mickey Mouse.

Next, promotion which is the main focus for this specific campaign. Disney is being promoted for a company that donates millions to non-profits. It shines Disney in a good light for their actions taken be charitable. The last reason is activism which isn’t exactly used in this campaign but is used in countless others.

This campaign is focused on using social media to gain recognition. Facebook, Twitter and Instagram were the main platforms for this. One of the most used tactics to spread awareness of campaigns is using celebrities. Using celebrities spreads the word easily and quickly because of the word of mouth marketing tactic. For example, when a celebrity like Robin Roberts posts a picture of herself sharing her ears, her 1.1 million followers on Twitter will see her post. When celebrities do things, “normal” people are more likely to join as well because they tend to look up to celebrities and want to follow in their footsteps.

Below are pictures taken from Twitter of celebrities sharing their ears. Pictured below is one tweeted from the Walt Disney Company, Robin Roberts from Good Morning American and Becky G.

Pictures from under #ShareYourEars

There hasn't been any new media incorporated in this campaign since it started in 2015. One way that this campaign could expand is using Snapchat. Disney could design a filter that would put Mickey ears on the person/people in the Snapchat. This could be the fourth social media platform used. Snapchat revolves around pictures so it’s definietly a smart investment.

An article written by Hye-Jin Paek, Thomas Hove and Richard T. Cole called, A Multimethod Approach to Evaluation Social Media Campaign Effectiveness, says to be able to measure the success of a social media campaign, it is measured in three ways. The first is social media behavior which is defined as how people engaged with the social media. The second is the “extent to which visitors communication with other people about the campaign offline; we call this “offline communication behavior.’” Lastly, how people are able to support the organization.

Below is an infographic that explains some of the basic aspects of the campaign in numbers.

Infograph by Kendall Reid
Photo by Tom Foreman

Make-A-Wish lets children pick any experience they dream of. For example, Josh Foreman from Parma, Ohio got to visit the New Orleans Saints football team. He got to meet the entire team and even hold the Superbowl trophy.

In the picture, Josh is pictured with football legend, Drew Brees. Josh is holding a signed football that the entire team signed. The whole experience for him was unforgetable and amazing, it’s something that he will always remember.

One of the most common wishes is a trip to Disney, almost half of all wishes are trips to Disney. That could be to Disneyland in California or Disney World in Florida. The Walt Disney Company makes it so easy on Wish families to have an amazing experience. Make-A-Wish plans their trips specifically tailored to the child. For example, if the child is a big fan of the Disney Princesses, the trip could include a dinner at Cinderella’s Royal Table or front row seats to see Anna and Elsa at the Frozen sing-a-long.

Photo by Kendall Reid

An interview was conducted with Nicole Leitz. She is the mother of Macy who recently just went on her Wish trip. Macy got granted a wish due to her epilepsy. Although Macy is nonverbal, she has made it clear she is one of Disney’s biggest fans. She can be seen in a princess dress or dancing with her sister to the songs from Frozen.

Nicole knew that the perfect wish for her daughter would be to the most magical place on Earth! Below is a Youtube video of the full interview with Nicole about her experience.

Video by Kendall Reid

She talks about how easy Make-A-Wish made everything from the transportation, the intense planning and overall experience. Macy and her family got to even ride like princesses to the airport in a limo. Macy got to experience everything that Disney had to offer, from the parks to the beautiful sunshine state of Florida. Macy got to take a trip to SeaWorld as well as Universal Studios.

Macy loved meeting all the princesses, in the video she is pictured with Tinker Bell. She also got to combine her two favorite things on Splash Mountain, rides and water! Macy got to enjoy this amazing trip with her parents and her sister, Norah. They had so much fun together, they were even featured in the Lion King Show at Disney’s Animal Kingdom. They were treated with the upmost respect, they got to walk onto every single ride thanks to their special passes gifted to them by the Genie himself.

Disney makes sure that Wish families like Macy’s have their transportation, boarding, food, park tickets and overall experience planned to the best it can be. They go above and beyond to create magic for their guests but go to infinity and beyond for Wish families. Nothing finacially falls onto the family, everything is covered from Make-A-Wish.

Gif made by Kendall Reid

Make-A-Wish is funded strictly by donors with Disney being one of them. Other companies do campaigns throughout the year to donate to Make-A-Wish such as Macy’s. There are tons of smaller fundraisers for Make-A-Wish such as the Make-A-Wish 300 mile bike ride that takes place in Michigan in July.

Make-A-Wish and campaigns like these are vital for nonprofits to keep their funding. Without the help of Disney’s donations, some children will never be able to have these expereinces. A lot of these wish families are drowning in medical bills and could never afford these expereinces. As Macy’s mom said without Make-A-Wish she could never had a stress-free trip like this. Disney literally took care of everything for them.

H. Paek, T. Hove and R. T. Cole, “A Multimethod Approach to Evaluating Social Media Campaign Effectiveness,” 2013 46th Hawaii International Conference on System Sciences, Wailea, Maui, HI, 2013, pp. 1570–1579.
doi: 10.1109/HICSS.2013.47