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Don't Tell Martti

MILTTON, Helsinki / CRISIS MANAGEMENT INITIATIVE (CMI) / 2017

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Overview

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Overview

Background

Crisis Management Initiative (CMI) is one of the world’s foremost peace mediating NGOs. CMI’s work is something most Finns are not aware of. The nature of CMI’s work is highly complex and most often classified, and they haven’t had the tools to communicate their significance at the consumer level. After facing severe budget cuts from governmental funding (in 2016, their income was slashed from 7.5 to 6.5 million euro), things had to change.

We set out to organise CMI’s first public fundraising campaign, just as CMI’s founder, Nobel Laureate and former president of Finland Martti Ahtisaari’s 80th birthday was approaching.

Our primary objective was to raise 200 000 euros. A secondary objective was to increase Finnish people’s awareness of CMI and to make conflict resolution a topic of national pride.

Execution

The campaign was based on a simple idea: by keeping discussion strictly in social media, we could keep the fundraiser secret from Martti and then surprise him on his birthday. An idea of a shared, public secret, known to everyone except one man, electrified the campaign and created an active online community genuinely invested in the campaign, both in terms of keeping the secret and ensuring the fundraiser’s outcome.

The Don’t Tell Martti -campaign kicked off on 20th April and ended two months later, on the 80th birthday. The launch was through a video where Ahtisaari’s son, well-known politicians and CMI staff planned the birthday surprise on WhatsApp. The secrecy wasn’t a mere marketing ploy, it was real. Media were asked to avoid traditional media so that Martti wouldn’t find out. They happily played along. Martti’s family, staff and security guards also committed to keeping the secret.

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Don't Tell Martti

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