Entertainment > Branded Entertainment

THE MARATHON WALKER

OGILVY PARIS, Paris / WATER FOR AFRICA / 2015

Awards:

Gold Cannes Lions
CampaignCampaign(opens in a new tab)
Case Film
Supporting Images

Overview

Credits

Overview

CampaignDescription

Since the Boston marathon bombings in the USA, regulations for these type of branded actions in public spaces have increased dramatically. So much so, that this year there was barely any participants in the Paris marathon that weren’t simply runners in their running attire.

The fact that Siabatou Saaneh was allowed to participate without official permission from the Marathon organizers was proof that the action and the message were stronger than the regulations.

Effectiveness

In Africa, women spend 40 billion hours every year walking for water. To create awareness around the problem we partnered with Water For Africa, a charity that builds sustainable water sources. We then asked a woman from one of these communities, Siabatou Sanneh, to leave her village for the first time in her life and participate in the Paris marathon and show the world just how hard her daily struggle really is. After two years of visa battles, problems with the Ebola crisis and many hurdles we succeeded to bring Siabatou to France. On April 12, 2015, Siabatou walked the Paris marathon with a jerrycan of water on her head and sandwich board that read: “In Africa, women walk this distance every day for clean water. Help shorten the distance.” Viewers were then directed to the TheMarathonWalker.com, where they could help shorten the distance by donating money in the form of meters.

Implementation

Siabatou’s simple act grabbed the attention of not only the spectators at the marathon but the world. Her story was featured on the front pages of newspapers, blogs, magazines and was a featured story on many news channels. Her name became the #1 trending topic in France and the image of her walking in the marathon was shared hundreds of times on social media. People were so moved that donations flooded in helping Water For Africa fund 5 boreholes, including one right in Siabatou’s village.

Outcome

One hour after Siabatou started her symbolic race, we collected enough funds to build the first borehole in her village. In just 3 weeks, the campaign has allowed us to start the construction of 4 more boreholes, and change the lives of thousands of African people. The campaign got over 25 million impressions and 4 million euros in earned media with a budget of next to nothing. And this is just the beginning. We are finishing a 26-minute documentary that will continue to raise funds throughout the upcoming year.

Relevancy

To promote Water for Africa and help create awareness around the scarcity of water, we organized a live experience by inviting Siabatou Saanneh, a gambian woman, to hijack the Paris Marathon. Siabatou walked the Paris marathon with a jerrycan of water on her head and a branded sandwich billboard that read: In Africa, women walk this distance every day for clean water. Help shorten the distance. The stunt grabbed the attention of the media worldwide shining a light on Water for Africa and on the water crisis.

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