PR > Excellence: PR Craft

REDUCE THE RIDE

HAPPINESS, AN FCB ALLIANCE, Brussels / D'IETEREN / 2022

Awards:

Silver Cannes Lions
CampaignCampaign(opens in a new tab)
Case Film
Presentation Image
Supporting Content

Overview

Credits

Overview

Why is this work relevant for PR?

‘Reduce the ride’ is the personification of how the viral power of PR solved the business problem of successfully launching a new brand (on a very limited budget) while – thanks to pr-coverage only - putting pressure on the government and shaming them into action, to solve Belgium’s most shameful mobility problem, at the same time. And all this in just a few weeks time.

Background

1/ D’Ieteren, the leading Belgian car distributor (Audi, VW, Skoda, etc), was launching a new ‘private taxi transport’ service, HUSK. A saturated market difficult to penetrate. Especially with a start-up budget. Briefing was how HUSK could earn the public's attention, rather than buying it?

2/ There are not a lot of special needs children’s schools in Belgium, and not a lot of special need children’s school busses. So, the few busses in place need to drive for long hours to pick up all children and bring them to school.

3/ Due to underfunding from the government, more than 5000 special needs children spend up to 8 (!) hours in a bus, each day. No, really: 2, 3 even 4 hours in a bus… single ride… every day… special needs children… A national disgrace. To quote Belgiums leading newspaper ‘De Tijd’: “what we do to those special needs children is inhumane”.

Describe the creative idea

To put pressure on the government and shame them into action, D’Ieteren & HUSK Presented: Reduce the Ride. An initiative to get special needs children to school faster. Yes indeed, awaiting a structural solution from the government, HUSK voluntarily made its entire fleet of private minibuses and vans, and its innovative app and planning technology, available to the worst affected special needs children schools. Reducing the average time for a single ride from 2h58 to 36 minutes only! To put a face to the issue we turned 2 special needs children’s story into a documentary film and send it to the press, together with a press release. That’s all it took to get the entire national press to cover the issue and shame the government into action.

Describe the PR strategy

Let’s shame the government into action by demonstrating how ‘easy’ it is to find a solution to Belgium’s most shameful mobility problem, while at the same time introducing a new ‘private taxi transport’ brand via earned attention only. Proving that you can do well by doing good. To put a face to the issue a documentary film was created, featuring two special needs children on their 8 (!) hour journey to and from school. The film, together with a press release was targeted to the entire national Belgian press. That’s all it took to get the entire national press to cover the issue and shame the government into action.

Describe the PR execution

The HUSK fleet of minibuses and vans, and its innovative planning technology, was made available (free of charge) to two of the worst affected special needs children schools.

From these first ‘reducing the ride’ of special needs children of two Belgian special needs children schools, a documentary film was created , featuring two special needs children on their 8 (!) hour journey to and from school. The film, together with a press release was targeted to the entire national Belgian press. Interviews with the ceo of HUSK were prepared as to why this initiative, etc.

While waiting for a structural solution, other schools were urged to contact HUSK for a mobility solution. All free of charge, obviously.

Within 2 weeks the government freed 11 million euros to finally solve the issue. 80% of that money was attributed to HUSK, to use their fleet on a continuous basis.

List the results

A problem plaguing Belgium for years, was solved by HUSK in weeks, by proving the effectiveness of smaller fleets and proper mobility planning. Literally the entire Belgian press engaged, praising the heart-warming HUSK initiative, but also putting enormous pressure on the government and finally shaming them into action. After just 1 week, the Belgian government decided to free an extra budget of 11 million euros to get the special needs children to school faster, by asking private taxi companies and fleets of minivans to help solve the issue. HUSK landed 80% of that extra government budget. Proving that you can do well by doing good: a new brand launched, a business problem solved, and a government contract landed. But, more importantly, finally a real school transport solution for the special needs children of Belgium. All of this via PR-coverage only.

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