Cannes Lions

GLOBAL HEALTH

WEBER SHANDWICK, Washington, Dc / POPULATION SERVICES INTERNATIONAL / 2010

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Overview

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Overview

Description

Four to five children die every day due to lack of safe drinking water and poor sanitation. Yet, the problem of clean drinking water and disease is staggering and largely unacknowledged. Few understand how unsafe water and sanitation impacts health and broader development issues such as education, gender inequity and poverty. To mark World Water Day 2009, our agency teamed with our client Population Services International (PSI) to develop an online video series that mobilised broad, grassroots support in the U.S. for better access to clean water in developing countries.

With limited budget, we needed to develop a creative, cost-effective approach. We teamed with a multi-media group to develop a video concept that took traditional public services messages to a new level to surprise and engage viewers. The series used iconic film images to raise public attention to the grave health risks that people with limited access to safe drinking water and basic sanitation face in developing countries. Each video included a message that encouraged viewers to visit www.worldH2Oday.org to learn more about the global water crisis and find ways to help. Within the first ten days of its launch, the series had more than one million viewers.

Execution

To generate buzz in the days leading up to World Water Day, we executed a phased roll-out strategy. Prior to launch, we provided a sneak peak to content editors at YouTube to generate interest in a homepage exclusive. The first of the four videos launched Friday morning before World Water Day on PSI partner sites, YouTube, Facebook, MySpace, MTVThink and Twitter. We simultaneously issued a press release and executed a coordinated media relations outreach effort targeting top news outlets and bloggers to drive awareness and generate anticipation of the soon-to-be-released videos. The remaining videos launched at noon on Friday and Saturday respectively, and the transparency video was released on Sunday morning culminating the effort and marking World Water Day.

Outcome

Within the first 10 days of launch, total video views exceeded 1 million. Outreach efforts to YouTube proved effective - the Transparency video was featured as a homepage exclusive and generated over 600,000 views in the first three days. Psycho was YouTube’s most viewed video in its Nonprofits & Activism category during March. The promotion generated strong blog coverage as well as an op-ed placement on The Huffington Post authored by PSI’s President. Most importantly, the videos have been successful in reaching the target audience with powerful messages - effectively hitting a nerve as evidenced by insightful viewer feedback: • "Wow, I did not know, thanks so much! It’s horrible…but thanks for the tips at the last part of video"• "All these new videos in one day. Great cause! Great work!"• "Wow, that's effective."• "This is really great…really it's just a good message to send out!"

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