Thursday, June 20, 2013

Saving lives with 'likes'? UNICEF 1 - Facebook 0?

I will leave the EU in peace this week, and let them negotiate TTIP. Someone pointed out that it is an unfortunate name for an Agreement that has not yet been reached. I agree actually. Virginia, stop it.

Anyway, I saw an interesting campaign idea a couple of days ago. It somehow links to the comments I made on the Kony 2012 campaign months back. This one is a UNICEF Sweden campaign.

Together with the UNHCR, I find that UNICEF is one of the few UN institutions - or maybe should I say institutions in general?- to have understood and well interpreted the power of visual communications. Their campaigns, partly because children are at the centre of the organisation, are very often incredibly moving and effective. This one, though, is particularly well done because it makes you think not just about children, but also about our own behaviour, as target audience of the campaign. First you have the powerful TV commercial showing a 10 year old boy who says that his and his brother's life will improve because the Facebook page of UNICEF Sweden has more and more  'Likes'. Sadly surreal but very thought provoking.

 Here it is (think about children):

And then there is the funny part of the campaign with three online clips showing someone trying to pay with 'likes'.

Here is one of the three (think about yourself):

These clips are OK. The characters could be funnier - or maybe they are to the Swedish audience - but the idea is good and anyway it is beside the point.

This campaign makes a not so subtle criticism of all those initiatives that want you to like, click and share for free from the comfort of your chair. Initiatives that, often, do not achieve much or change anything. The fact that online tools are a great help when it comes to reaching as many people as possible, does not alter the fact that, in most cases, what is really needed - and even more so in this time of crisis - is money. The quirkiness of this one for me is that the results of this campaign will be, yes, more donations, but also inevitably many more likes on the Facebook page of UNICEF Sweden. Or will it? Quite surprisingly the Facebook statistics seem to imply that there was a huge buzz the weeks following the campaign launch a month ago, but that there has been only a marginal increase in likes.

Pure coincidence or has the message gone through?  

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