PR > PR: Sectors

SLEEPING FLAGS

ROTHCO | PART OF ACCENTURE INTERACTIVE, Dublin / O.N.E. / 2019

Awards:

Silver Cannes Lions
CampaignCampaignLayout(opens in a new tab)
Case Film
Presentation Image
1 of 0 items

Overview

Credits

Overview

Why is this work relevant for PR?

In Ireland, hundreds of Defence Forces veterans end up homeless, due to a lack of official support and public recognition of their service to the country. To generate awareness and meaningful support for them, we had to shock the Irish public into caring.

To achieve that, we created ‘Sleeping Flags’ for homeless charity ONE, transforming the Irish flag into the universal symbol of homelessness - the sleeping bag. In a coordinated protest, veterans slept in these bags outside landmark buildings around Ireland, creating an unmistakable spectacle for the public. This immediately sparked a nationwide conversation and overwhelmingly positive response for

Background

O.N.E., a small, independent charity providing emergency accommodation to homeless Irish Defences Forces veterans, faced two huge barriers in raising much-needed funds. They operate in an extremely crowded homeless charity sector dominated by a few big players, while the Defence Forces veterans they care for receive almost no public recognition or support despite representing their country with distinction. Even with the number of homeless veterans numbering in the hundreds, their plight, and the work of O.N.E. in supporting them, was totally invisible.

On a modest budget, our brief was to come up with an idea that would have immediate impact as O.N.E. faced a yearly struggle to keep their doors open. Our objectives were two-fold: we needed to build awareness of this hidden crisis quickly with the Irish public so we could establish the charity in people’s minds and instantly call on them for donations.

Describe the creative idea

There is a huge disconnect between the Irish public and the Irish Defence Forces. But there is one thing both groups have in common - a huge sense of pride in the national flag.

The flag is incredibly important to all members of the Irish military. They have risked their lives for it. They hold it in the highest esteem, and the protocols around its representation and treatment are incredibly strict. So we decided to break protocol to spark a much-needed conversation led by O.N.E. If our veterans were laying in the streets, then so too would our flag.

We created Sleeping Flags. An act that took Ireland’s iconic Tricolour flag and transformed it into the universal symbol of homelessness - the sleeping bag. A shocking, shameful combination which forced the public to consider what mattered more to them - the flag, or those who gave everything for it.

Describe the PR strategy

Our insight was that people would be shocked to see their country’s flag represented in such a shameful way and would react to it - one way or another.

Our key message was that O.N.E. desperately needed support to help hundreds of deserving Defence Forces veterans who have given everything in service to the Irish flag yet ended up homeless.

Rather than targeting a particular demographic, our Sleeping Flags appeal set out to capture the attention of patriotic Irish individuals and institutions. People who saw Ireland as a proud, inclusive country built on social justice for all and would feel shame realising it has let its veterans down.

We created an appeal film, portraits of homeless veterans and O.N.E. staff, along with key statistics around their work with homeless veterans which were all part of a media pack sent to major media outlets and key publishers.

Describe the PR execution

Sleeping Flags launched on the 11th of February 2019, with embargoed media packs sent out the day before.

In a coordinated act to raise public awareness and support, veterans took to the streets in our Sleeping Flags, sleeping in the shadow of iconic buildings chosen for their historical significance and symbolism.

We launched the campaign by having an Irish influencer known for activism and social commentary tweet a single image of a veteran in one of our bags. This single provocative image was like a tinderbox. Something that should elicit pride in Irish people was used to elicit anger and a sense of shame.

This quickly spread, generating a huge amount of debate and conversation. The following morning O.N.E. claimed ownership of the act, releasing a follow-up documentary appeal online that explained the urgent need for this drastic action.

List the results

The campaign was an immediate national sensation, sparking intense conversation and debate about the treatment of the flag versus the treatment of Irish veterans online and across the media. It was covered by every national TV, radio station and newspaper in Ireland, with homeless veterans who had been supported by O.N.E. and O.N.E. staff themselves interviewed on every major current affairs and chat show, ensuring that our key messages were delivered in a clear, consistent manner across every appearance.

Within 48 hours of the campaign launch, O.N.E. had received a 4,560% increase in donations versus the previous year. In addition to this, Sleeping Flags created such an impact that the welfare of veterans was raised on the floor of Dáil Éireann (the Irish Parliament), causing the government to donate a new building to O.N.E. along with €200,000 in funding to transform it into a much-needed additional hostel. This enabled O.N.E. to expand their services and keep more homeless veterans off the streets of Ireland.

More Entries from Not-for-profit / Charity / Government in PR

24 items

Grand Prix Cannes Lions
THE TAMPON BOOK: A BOOK AGAINST TAX DISCRIMINATION

Other FMCG

THE TAMPON BOOK: A BOOK AGAINST TAX DISCRIMINATION

THE FEMALE COMPANY, SCHOLZ & FRIENDS

(opens in a new tab)

More Entries from ROTHCO | PART OF ACCENTURE INTERACTIVE

24 items

Silver Cannes Lions
SLEEPING FLAGS

Not-for-profit / Charity / Government

SLEEPING FLAGS

O.N.E., ROTHCO | PART OF ACCENTURE INTERACTIVE

(opens in a new tab)