Children are still being held in chain-link cages at the US-Mexico border, separated from their parents, denied their medications, and locked up in freezing temperatures. At the time of the #NoKidsInCages activation, six children had already died while in U.S. custody. On June 12, RAICES, the nonprofit organization at the frontlines of fighting for separated families at the border, with advertising agency Badger & Winters (of #WomenNotObjects) and Fenton Communications launched a guerilla activism project across New York City to call attention to the treatment of children at our border, and to urge people to pressure their representatives to pass the Keep Families Together Act (H.R. 541). The objective of #NoKidsInCages was to stop people from becoming inured to the horror and inhumanity of the border crisis, and rouse them to take action.
In the early morning hours of June 12 – before the sun rose – guerilla marketing teams were deployed to install the cages across New York City. The takeover dropped life-size cages, with models of children sleeping in them, in 24 different locations throughout the city designed to maximize attention. Locations included the fronts of the NY Times and Fox News buildings, city landmarks, and highly trafficked areas in multiple boroughs. The installations provided a multi-sensory experience, featuring sound from secret recordings smuggled out of the detention centers. Following the June 12 launch, the #NoKidsInCages campaign also released a “digital installation” — a video that captures the cages — on Independence Day.
Despite the installations being dismantled within hours by the NYPD, the campaign reached hundreds of millions of people through the media and social media. By 7 a.m., several of the cages had already been dismantled, but the conversation had gone viral, a level of attention that lasted well into the remainder of the week. By mid-afternoon, all of the cages had been removed by the city, but the conversation did not slow down for several days.
The #NoKidsinCages campaign was multifaceted: It included a physical and digital presence, multiple teams, a strong social and earned media effort, and eye-catching creative and visual assets including videos, graphics, and audio.
In support of RAICES, the #NoKidsInCages campaign offered viewers and supporters the opportunity to Share, Donate, and Act through tools provided on the nokidsincages.com website.
Share: A social media toolkit was deployed at the launch of the campaign so that supporters could utilize and edit for personal use the pre-created messaging to help drive awareness and traffic to the #NoKidsInCages effort.
Donate: A donate button on nokidsincages.com took viewers directly to a RAICES donation page.
Act: This option encouraged users to message and call their political representatives and tell them that they want support for the Keep Families Together Act.
The #NoKidsInCages campaign resulted in hundreds of media hits, 89,792,093 total social media reach, and support from a vast number of influencers vocal about the cause: Beto O’Rourke, Sarah Silverman, Alyssa Milano, and Rosie O'Donnell. In support of RAICES, the campaign helped spur a significant spike in donations during the week of the launch, culminating in $8.9M raised. Since June 11th, RAICES rallied over 68,971 new donors (individuals, foundations, and corporations), not including the monumental increase of supporters over social media.
Social Media Impressions (Since June 11th)
Donor Activity (individuals, foundations & corporations)
At the time of this submission, multiple advocacy organizers have requested physical cages to be present at their events. While we were unable to accommodate all, we were able to support as many as possible and will be able to provide others with how-to instructions on building their own cages to continue raising awareness for this issue across the United States.