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PR Ideas: UNICEF advert says the charity needs money not Facebook likes

7th May 2013


Of all the “PR” campaigns that floated through my consciousness (and Twitter feed) this week, this was the one that stood out:

It stood out in part because it’s clearly a very powerful message.

But it also stood out because it’s a great example (in a world where there are very few) of an organisation taking a great consumer insight – that punters hit LIKE on a charity page and think it’s enough – and turn it into a campaign – pointing out that the feeling of smug satisfaction from clicking a button on Facebook is a pretty empty one if you don’t cough up some cash.

As the press release that went out when the campaign launched puts it:

"It’s easier than ever to support a good cause – all you have to do is hit the like button.  The organisation gets one more supporter and you get positive publicity among your friends. But even though it’s important to be liked, likes can't fund medicine, water or food. In this we highlight the absurdness of our blind faith in likes, to raise money for vaccine. Save children’s lives - buy vaccines: http://unicef.se/poliovaccin"

It’s a brave piece of work because it’s willing to risk alienating those who are fans of the brand in question.

But it also prods those very people firmly in the ribs and challenges them to work out just how deep their commitment runs. It pricks the conscience of those closest to the brand.

Sometimes, I think that – particularly when it comes to charity brands – the PR is too rarely willing to be challenging of those who might give funds. This campaign shows that, done in just the right tone and with just the right amount of force, a firm nudge can be made to work.

What’s more, it’s a sentiment that has struck a chord with the media themselves, built as it is upon an insight into the way that we behave, resulting in some great coverage. And that’s why I think this is PR at its best – able to be difficult, to ask complicated questions and raise debating points in the media that, ultimately, mean the brand gets an incredibly important point across.

James Gordon-MacIntosh is founder and Managing Partner at Hope&Glory PR



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