Canadians - We're Not as Kind as We think We Are

CFL Legend Michael "Pinball" Clemons and Mars Canada Inc.'s Chocolate division, team up to enable acts of kindness by giving millions of free* chocolate products and helping out Community Organizations in need

TORONTO, April 1 /CNW/ - Surprised when someone offers you up a seat on the bus, or holds open a door for you? According to a recent survey(1) measuring the likelihood and frequency that Canadians commit random acts of kindness, you might be surprised. The survey conducted by Leger Marketing and commissioned by Mars Canada Inc Chocolate division, reveals that only 41 per cent of respondents believed they were on the receiving end of kindness in the past week. With 90 per cent of Canadians believing that their country is a compassionate nation, it appears that we actually do not act as kindly and considerately towards one another as we claim.

Furthermore, feedback from Canadians indicated that they feel it doesn't take a large act to make someone feel special. While large gifts and gestures are certainly valued, a simple, inexpensive act from one Canadian to another can have a big impact on someone's day.

The release of these survey results coincides with the launch of Mars Canada Inc.'s RANDOM ACTS OF CHOCOLATE(TM) campaign, built on the belief that any act of kindness, big or small, can bring a little joy to someone's day. Mars Canada Inc.'s Chocolate division will be giving over 8.5 million coupons redeemable for free chocolate products to Canadians and encouraging them to use these to help spread a little kindness and encourage others to do the same.

Canadian Football League (CFL) legend Michael "Pinball" Clemons has also teamed up with this unique Campaign to inspire people to not only share their personal stories, big and small, but to also encourage Canadians to nominate a local Community Organization active within their community, being either a charity or other not for profit organization registered federally or provincially in Canada, for the opportunity to receive one of three $10,000 CDN donations to have an act of kindness made in their honour, should their entry be selected and they be declared a winner. Three Community Organizations nominated by the winners will each receive a $10,000 donation from Mars Canada.

"Everyone feels better when they've done something nice for others, whether a stranger or loved one - not to mention when something nice is unexpectedly done for them," said Michael "Pinball" Clemons. "While even the smallest gesture of kindness can go a long way, Mars Canada Inc.'s Chocolate division is helping to take this one step further by launching a Campaign that gives Canadians the chance to up their game and really show kindness towards others by assisting those in their local community, inspiring generosity in the process."

Michael is an icon of sporting excellence, community leadership, personal character and integrity and is an individual who best embodies what kindness, giving and compassion are all about. He is an incredible example of someone who genuinely cares about the people around him, and whether on the football field or part of a philanthropic effort, he truly exemplifies what kindness is and practices kindness every day.

What might surprise you about your fellow Canadians

The survey also examined such topics as why people act kindly towards others, the guilt associated by having something nice done for you, the attitudes of kindness on behalf of men, women, old and young, to name a few. Such findings include:

Do We Feel Guilty?

    
    -   Over one-quarter of Canadians, 28 per cent, feel guilty when they are
        the recipient of an act of kindness because they do not commit as
        many acts of kindness towards others as often as they should. The
        feeling of guilt is particularly strong in Alberta where
        34.5 per cent reported this feeling.
    

Atlantic Friendliness?

    
    -   Perhaps indicative of famous Atlantic friendliness, only 26 per cent
        of Atlantic Canadians strongly agreed that they are surprised by an
        unexpected act of kindness, as compared to the remaining 74 per cent
        of Canadians who say they are surprised by this.
    

East vs. West?

    
    -   If you live in Ontario, you're more than likely to be offered a seat
        on the bus, with 47 per cent of respondents claiming they would give
        up their seat to someone who looked tired or distressed.
        Weary-looking transit riders in Alberta would not be as lucky
        however, with only 39 per cent of respondents claiming they would do
        the same, the lowest percentage of all of Canada. Not to be outdone,
        Albertans were the most likely of any group at 28 per cent to offer
        money to someone who was short-changed, compared to the national
        average of 22 per cent.
    

Men vs. Women?

    
    -   Though more men than women stated they would give money to someone
        who was in need as a random act of kindness, 28 per cent vs.
        24 per cent, respectively; women were more likely to buy a chocolate
        bar to cheer someone up than men - 19 per cent versus 13 percent.
    

Does Money Matter?

    
    -   Over one-quarter (27 per cent) of Canadians who earn over $80,000
        annually said that they would commit more acts of kindness on a
        regular basis if they had more money to help others. Comparatively,
        almost 43 per cent of respondents earning less than $40,000 a year
        had the same response.
    

"Central to the RANDOM ACTS OF CHOCOLATE(TM) campaign philosophy is the belief that committing acts of kindness, whether it's buying a chocolate bar for someone having a rough day, making an in-kind or cash donation to a large charity is important and should always be top-of-mind," says TJ Kanaris, Brand Director for Mars Canada Inc. "At Mars Canada, we strive to show Canadians that an act of kindness can be something big or small, as long as it brings joy to someone else."

To learn more about Mars' RANDOM ACTS OF CHOCOLATE(TM) campaign and how to get involved by getting free coupons for a participating chocolate product, sharing your stories and telling us which Community Organization you would nominate, please visit www.marsacts.ca.

About Mars Canada Inc.

Mars Canada Inc. is a division of Mars Incorporated, a private family-owned company founded in 1911 that employs 70,000 associates at more than 300 sites in 75 countries generating revenues of over $30 billion annually. Headquartered in Bolton, Ontario, Mars Canada employs more than 750 associates at 3 sites, including 3 manufacturing facilities. The company owns some of the world's leading brands, including UNCLE BEN'S(R) Rice, MARS(R), M&M'S(R), SNICKERS(R), DOVE(R), MALTESERS(R), chocolate products, PEDIGREE(R), CESAR(R) and WHISKAS(R) petcare products.

    
    ---------------------------
    * 100,000 coupons for a free Mars Canada Inc. Chocolate Product via
        save.ca, 8.5 million buy one get one free coupons for a Mars Canada
        Inc. Chocolate Product via National Free Standing Insert and 50,000
        coupons for a free Mars Canada Inc. Chocolate Product via Mars Canada
        Inc. Retail Ambassadors.

    (1) *Leger Marketing conducted this survey in January 2010 using a
        national random sample of 1,516 respondents. This method simulates a
        probability sample which would yield a maximum margin of error of
        +\-2.5%, 19 times out of 20.
    

SOURCE Mars Canada Inc.

For further information: For further information: Megan Johnson, Fleishman-Hillard Canada, (416) 645-3643, megan.johnson@fleishman.ca


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