PR > Technique

YANG AI (DESPAIR WHIRLPOOL)

LEO BURNETT SHANGHAI, Shanghai / GUANGZHOU YANGAI SPECIAL CHILDREN PARENT CLUB / 2011

Awards:

Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Overview

Credits

Overview

BriefExplanation

The majority of people in China do not know or understand autism and scorn autistic children and their parents.In order to raise public awareness for autism, so that more care and support can be given to the parents of autistic children, the Yang Ai Foundation decided to organise an event that captures attention and educates the masses about the illness.Through the form of performance arts, Yang Ai created large installations in a popular art complex and engaged the public’s interest.The event generated massive PR coverage on over sixty mainstream media like Xinhua News Agency, Sohu.com and Sina.com, and led to numerous discussions on social networking sites regarding the event, as well as generated support for the victims of autism.

ClientBriefOrObjective

The Yang Ai Foundation set out to raise awareness for the plight of families with autistic children, by educating the general public about this societal problem and the difficulties these parents faced.

Execution

Two events were conducted in the form of performance arts in Red Town, the largest cultural art landmark in Shanghai. "Black Whirlpool" was performed twice in March and April 2010, followed by "Dark Corner", also twice, in June and July 2010; each event lasted four hours.The performer was bound by a sea of black ropes, until he was trapped inside. The black ropes represented the misunderstanding, helplessness, mental pressure and economic burden experienced by parents of autistic children, demonstrating how tied, isolated and suppressed they were. During the event, 10,000 postcards were given out, hoping more people could become aware of the societal problems surrounding the event, and give their support to families with autistic children.The campaign was sustained by another similar event in April 2011.

Outcome

The campaign was a big event that raised public awareness in China and stirred discussions. Over sixty mainstream media reported the event for free, and twenty million people now know that more attention and care have to be given to parents of autistic children. The PR generated by the campaign equals approximately RMB 50 million (approximately USD 7 million) media dollars.

Until today, netizens still discuss the issue on popular social networking sites in China. 90% of the parents of autistic children expressed that more people understand their hardship through this campaign, and public concern has given them much encouragement.Moreover, "Yang Ai Special Children Parent Club" has raised enormous sums of donations as a result of this event, and will carry on this campaign while planning for the "World Autistic Day" next year.

Strategy

They did this by creating an exhibition of "Living Sculptures" on the streets of Shanghai.

Dressed from head to toe in black, and bound by a sea of black ropes, the sculptures stood as a stark reminder of the heart wrenching loneliness and isolation felt by parents of autistic children.

TheSituation

In China, millions parents of autistic children suffer in silence. Ignorance and 5,000 years of superstition lead many people to believe that the parents of autistic children are being punished for past wrongs. Ostracised by their communities, and ignored by social services, they often have no one to turn to for help.

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