The American Red Cross partnered with the popular Peanuts cartoon brand to create an exclusive T-shirt featuring Snoopy for people donating blood. Now, the shirt is going viral on TikTok and first-time blood donors are showing up to get their hands on the exclusive merch.
The collaboration has increased traffic and the number of appointments being made for blood donations, according to the Red Cross. It’s found an audience on TikTok, with users documenting their visit and their new shirt, which features Snoopy’s alter ego, Joe Cool, and the phrase “Be Cool. Give Blood.”
Cathy Chang, who goes by @uh…o_o on TikTok, posted a 6-second video Wednesday about her shirt that garnered over 4 million views.
She said she saw a video about the collaboration, which runs from April 1-23, from another user and decided to donate blood for the first time because of the shirt.
“If I see something cute and I don’t have to pay for it, I’m gonna go do whatever I need to do to get it,” she said.
Commenters on her video shared their feelings about the hype around the collaboration.
“They’re finally realizing we will do anything for merch,” one person commented.
“i literally skipped class to go donate blood to get my shirt,” another person wrote.
Chang, 24, said she wanted to donate blood in the past but had a fear of fainting. This T-shirt, however, was enough for her to confront that fear.
Darren Irby, the executive director of national brand partnerships at the Red Cross, said it’s been fascinating to see this collaboration’s momentum.
“It’s been really great to see so many young folks so fired up by this particular partnership and realizing that maybe their fear of needles or other concerns aren’t as bad as what they thought they might be,” he said.
Irby said some of that success could already be seen in their data.
“We’ve seen web traffic to our appointment page — since Monday, it is up 50% versus our six-month running averages,” he explained. “What’s really cool and speaks to the social aspect of this is that organic search is up 600% over the last couple of days.”
The Red Cross has done similar projects for “Game of Thrones” and “Wonder Woman 1984,” but Irby says that Peanuts fans are more multigenerational than fans of some other brands, which likely helped with the collaboration's reach.
“Several years ago, we made the conscious decision to inspire new donors through the lens of their existing interests and their own passion points,” he said. “We do this a few times a year, and it’s really made a difference. So, we strategically reached out to Peanuts because we loved the cross-generational appeal that [it] offered.”
Irby said young people are often introduced to blood drives through their high schools, but the pandemic made drives less and less accessible. Social media has helped bridge some of that gap.
Chang said she’s grateful her video went viral and helped spread the new promotion.
“I’m glad that this TikTok got a lot of attention because a lot of times, no one will go out of their way to search out where they can donate blood, but then they see this incentive on social media,” she said.