The Shorty Awards honor the best of social media and digital. View this season's finalists!

Special Project

Special Project
From the 16th Annual Shorty Awards

Breath for All

Gold Honor in Social Good Campaign

Silver Honor in Campaign by Diverse-Owned Businesses


Across sub-Saharan Africa, acute respiratory infections are a leading cause of death due to late-stage diagnoses and a lack of oxygen supplies. Many medical facilities in the area lack the infrastructure, equipment, and training to provide lifesaving care. That’s where ALIMA comes in. 


ALIMA is a medical aid nonprofit based in Dakar. The NGO’s robust respiratory health programs tackle this complex problem from all angles, enabling early detection by providing pulse oximeters, equipping hospitals with medical oxygen plants to increase resources, training staff to perform technical repairs, and so much more. 


Just one catch: As a small nonprofit, ALIMA has limited funds, an extremely limited support network, and virtually no brand awareness to support its work. That’s where we came in. 


Our objective was to raise awareness about the issue and help ALIMA build an audience ecosystem that it could cultivate into long-term supporters in the US. We set out to create an awareness and appeal campaign in the US with the aim to grow ALIMA’s new followers, email subscribers, and supporter base. We looked at metrics like reach, video views, completion rates, engagement, and site traffic to gauge our effectiveness in creating an active audience funnel. 


Just one catch: As we began research, we realized America faced its own public health challenge. According to the US Surgeon General, Americans were in crisis: distracted, anxious, cynical—a cultural climate that lowers empathy and generosity, particularly towards strangers. 


And that’s where Breath for All came in… 

Strategy and Execution

We identified tensions and commonalities between US audiences and ALIMA. In the US, anxiety was up 42% with 25% of Americans reporting having turned inward–trends that depress social altruism and generosity. Separately, we discovered empathetic communications lead to a 47% rise in oxytocin, which increases social altruism (i.e., generosity toward strangers). 


We knew, on its face, Americans wouldn’t consider the topic of improving medical oxygen supplies for people in Africa resonant. We needed a connection. 


Our research also indicated people were seeking help. Interest in breathwork had grown 40%. 


While people in Africa were taking their last breath due to a lack of medical oxygen supplies, Americans were so stressed they were paying apps for reminders to breathe. That insight spurred our creative idea.


We stopped making an appeal campaign and started making a service campaign, offering audiences something they needed. A break. And a breath.


We created a series of breathwork exercises, inviting everyone to connect with themselves and ALIMA's cause through breath. 


We strived to make the series authentic and recognizable as breathwork, but ownable to ALIMA. As a locally-led NGO, ALIMA wanted our presentation of the region's humanitarian challenges uphold, not undermine, the dignity of its people. We explored ways to depict Africa with pride, even as we put forth our critical needs.


As an unknown brand, being thumb-stopping was crucial. For that, we commissioned award-winning artist Six N. Five, acclaimed for his 3D animations, to reimagine iconic African landscapes representing regions in which ALIMA works as the series’ tapestry. We worked with a breathwork practitioner to develop distinct exercises for each. 


Knowing specific sound blends and frequencies evoke altruism, we crafted a meditative composition with regional instruments and calming nature sounds. Engineered in 8D audio, the soundscape synchs with the animations for a multi-sensory experience.


Breath for All launched with a guided practice amidst the Congo. In the film, the sun-like sphere co-guides with the voiceover, expanding and contracting with the music. In the end,  a reminder and an invitation: breath is a gift to be honored and upheld. 


Complementary practices were released, each with its own animation and mix.

We launched a site where audiences could watch the films, learn about the issue, and support ALIMA. In total, 4 exercises were housed on Videos were shared on YouTube and adapted across Stories, Reels, feed posts, and UGC applications. Film stills were imaginatively repurposed into designs for a capsule apparel collection benefitting ALIMA. 


Leaning into the campaign’s niche, we reached out to medical and mindfulness micro-influencers, wellness centers, and breathwork studios to share our videos via social and email, amplify the issue, host Breath for All fundraisers, and create their own breathwork videos stressing the importance of oxygen access using our campaign toolkits.


The campaign, influencer engagement, peer-to-peer outreach, events, PR, and merchandise helped ALIMA reach +1.1M people in 2 months.


We launched at ALIMA’s NYC gala, where our film guided guests through a breathwork exercise amidst the Congo’s winding waterways. 150 attendees joined as the voiceover welcomed them to take a moment to breathe in harmony with Six N. Five’s captivating sphere. A second event in Los Angeles presented the film as the emcee ushered 100 people through a mini practice, and invited everyone to ensure the gift of breath in others. 


4 breathwork studios and 27 creators participated in the campaign at gratis rates, introducing ALIMA to value-aligned audiences.


With no PR budget, the campaign scrappily obtained earned media coverage across wellness, arts, marketing trade, and African-focused outlets, like Jejune, OM Yoga Magazine,, MediaCat, and Marketing Unplugged.


Videos saw +610K views–on par with NGOs 1,000% bigger than ALIMA. At 33%, the video completion rates (VCR) more than doubled YouTube’s average (15%), exceeding top categories like music videos. 


ALIMA’s social reach skyrocketed 7,000% and organic engagement was up 25X. Moreover, ALIMA’s followers grew 46%, outpacing typical growth 20X to reach a level it would have taken the NGO 2.5 years to hit otherwise. Site traffic rose 120% and ALIMA’s email audience grew 14%. 


ALIMA’s supporter base expanded significantly as well. Donor acquisition rates rose 76%, including the addition of 2 major donors and an 8% increase in recurring givers. Most importantly, ALIMA raised enough to equip 250 hospitals with oxygen concentrators to ensure Breath for All. 


Video for Breath for All

Entrant Company / Organization Name

Nazar Works


Entry Credits