Childhood should be a time for children to play, learn, and develop to their full potential. However, nearly one in four children around the world are being robbed of their childhoods, simply because of who they are or where they live.
To bring this crisis to light, Save the Children launched their first annual End of Childhood Report and Index, which evaluated countries based on a number of serious events that threaten children, including violence, early pregnancy, and forced labor.
For a launch of such significance, a simple press release wouldn't do. So Save the Children tapped Weber Shandwick to generate awareness, media and conversation, and empathy around the End of Childhood Report.
In order to raise awareness of this global epidemic, we had to reach a global audience. Which meant solidifying a single strategy to engage people across six continents. Facebook proved to be the ideal platform to do just that.
Next we zeroed in on an execution with the reach and relevance needed to breakthrough the clutter: unboxing videos. With view-counts in the hundreds of millions, unboxing videos are a global social phenomenon – especially with children – featuring someone opening a product (e.g. a toy, a phone, a TV, etc.) and describing every step of the "unboxing" process.
We decided to borrow the built-in equity of this genre and flip the script. Our videos featured three children "unboxing" what they thought were toys; however, each box actually contained an object that reflected a "childhood ender"—a pickaxe (forced labor), a positive pregnancy test (childhood pregnancy), and ammunition (forced conflict). This provocative twist helped us capture authentic emotional reactions from the kids and bring some much-needed attention to this global issue.
To expand our organic reach, we tapped into Save the Children's regional Facebook pages around the globe and had them post our videos. While there was a single compilation video, we also had three individual videos each in a different language (English, Spanish, and Mandarin). This enabled specific regions to post the video that best suited their locale.
Without a paid media budget, we turned to creative media methods—using search optimization to plant our series among real unboxing videos on Facebook and intercept viewers when they least expected.
We launched it all on International Children's Day, arranging a daylong takeover of Facebook's own "Nonprofits on Facebook" page. The highlight of this takeover was a Facebook Live video featuring Dr. Jill Biden and Save the Children CEO Carolyn Miles, which we produced at Facebook's New York office. While we were live, we played our unboxing video to maximize impact and viewership.
In the end, we used Facebook's native platform capabilities to overcome our budget restrictions and create a holistic social campaign. But more importantly, we used Facebook to help launch the End of Childhood Report and raise awareness of the plight facing more than 700 million children worldwide.
Relying solely on organic reach vs paid media dollars, we more than doubled our goals and vastly exceeded our – and our client's – expectations.
To date, our video series has received more than 2.3 million views across all platforms, reaching audiences in 36 countries around the globe and garnering nearly 250,000 engagements.
The campaign also secured coverage in Fast Company, HuffPo, Salon, Upworthy, NBC News and trades including Campaign and O'Dwyers. The End of Childhood report garnered additional coverage globally in outlets like Reuters, Yahoo News, Teen Vogue, New York Newsday, Daily News, and CNN.com where Dr. Jill Biden gave a guest POV.