By Emily Stifler Explorebigsky.com Managing Editor

It isn’t exactly a coat drive, but it does help put people in warm coats. In fact, Coat Tales, Mercury CSC’s holiday project, is bent on making coat drives better.

The Bozeman ad agency is encouraging folks nationwide to drop a used jacket at a local coat drive, then use its site, coattales2011.com, to tell the future owner the coat’s story. For the first 500 coats Mercury will donate $10 to OneWarmCoat.org, a San Francisco-based group that helps organize coat drives across the country.

Here’s how it works:

– Find a coat that could use a new home this winter.
– Tell and print your coat’s story, and slip it in your coat’s pocket.
– Drop it off at a local coat drive.
– Check back to see if your coat has been claimed.

“Coat Tales is our attempt to make philanthropy into something viral,” said Donnie Clapp with Mercury. “We’re hoping to incentivize giving, and get used coats out of the back of their closets.”

When you donate, it gets posted to your Facebook page, Clapp explained, which adds “a peer pressure element.”

So far, 32 coats have been submitted.

“Every year we try to do something to raise awareness of an issue, either locally or globally, and do a little bit of good, because we feel very fortunate to live and work where we do,” Clapp said.

Mercury has done fundraisers and awareness campaigns, and hopes this will grow even bigger, encouraging people to act that might not have otherwise.