In the midst of the COVID-19 pandemic when millions were losing their jobs, those that needed our help most were forgotten and left alone to suffer. As charitable donations plummeted on a global scale, the billions that would normally have been donated to the needy; had simply dried up and millions were unable to receive the support they required to live. In the UAE, those most affected by this backlash were the hundreds of thousands of low-wage workers, whose income is vital in putting food on the table for themselves and their families.
We answered an ordinary food donation brief from an NGO, where our challenge became to encourage donations at a time where charity had never been closer to home. The reality was that the world had stopped donating. We created a unique donation mechanic, unlike anything seen before, with an objective to capture people’s attention and, ultimately, turn a charitable cause into worldwide entertainment.
The idea was both simple and elegant. What if we could light up the smiles of those most affected by COVID-19 (those on low incomes, who’d lost their jobs and couldn’t afford to feed their families) by individually lighting up (and selling off) each of the 1.2 million lights that illuminate the façade of the Burj Khalifa?
‘The World’s Tallest Donation Box’ achieved exactly this. We invited the public to purchase and illuminate all 1.2 million LEDs on the world’s tallest building for as little as AED 10 (USD 3) each. Donors were driven to the website that displayed the 1.2 million pixels for sale, each represented a light and a meal. The site’s back-end pushed updates to the Burj Khalifa’s display servers in real-time, which lit the building’s lights for the world to see.
By illuminating all1.2 million lights, the initiative aimed to bring hope into lives of 1.2 million people, unsure of where their next meal was coming from. In addition, the website also displayed thousands of messages of solidarity and hope from people across the globe, in support of the inspiring initiative.
The campaign was expected to reach its target within one month of launching. It took just seven days before all 1.2 million lights were sold, thanks to the generous donations from people of 115 nations in addition to many global brands including Amazon, McDonalds, Unilever, Atlantis Resorts, VISA, Masafi, MAK Holding, West Zone, Tristar Group, Chalhoub Group and Bin Sougat Group. What started as a tall ask, quickly became a shining example of human generosity and kindness with USD 3.3 million raised in food aid and just over 1.2 million meals donated. The World’s Tallest Donation Box was covered over 550 times by news outlets, worldwide, and reached a staggering 4.6 billion people.
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