War Child Canada
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OVERVIEW: This is a case about a charity with limited awareness and zero dollars to work with. They made something out of nothing in more ways than one.
SITUATION ANALYSIS: War Child Canada is an international humanitarian organization based in Toronto. It was founded in 1999 by Dr. Samantha Nutt. It is dedicated to helping children from war-torn countries. Some of these children are former combatants in the world’s most violent flash points, such as Darfur, the Democratic Republic of Congo, Uganda and Afghanistan. For this campaign, the purpose was to raise support for War Child Canada’s work, and urge Canadians into action. There were four challenges: (1) low awareness, (2) no budget, (3) competition from other good causes, (4) consumer apathy.
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STRATEGY & INSIGHT: Canadians might be initially shocked to hear that an estimated 300,000 children are being used as soldiers around the world, but this had not translated into action because they are disconnected from the horror. How do you wake people up from this apathy? By provoking anger, and channelling it into something positive.
EXECUTION: On the surface, Camp Okutta is perfectly wholesome, and if you go on campokutta.com you expect to get the usual information. But there is a jarring twist. Once you started interacting with the site you see that it is a child soldier camp Ñ showing abduction, sexual assault, drug use, and how to kill with weapons and explosives. Outraged, you then click on « where is Camp Okutta, » and find out that it’s fictional. Then your anger transfers to the real child soldier camps around the world. In order to get this story out, the campaign launched with an online video, posters and PR. Shortly afterwards, a TV spot ran in donated media space, and volunteers worked as street teams in Toronto. All of this caught the attention of bloggers and the major media outlets, creating a multiplier effect.
Within 2 weeks of the August 2007 launch Canadians were in an uproar, and they turned their anger into support. War Child Canada more than doubled online donations in 2007, going from $39,069 to $84,925. War Child has also seen an increase in support from company partnerships.
CAUSE & EFFECT:War Child Canada did not have any other national initiatives during or after the Summer of 2007, and rapidly increased web traffic could be directly related to the campaign (figures were supplied). In addition, though not strictly cause & effect, Camp Okutta has been recognized in the industry, receiving a One Show Interactive Pencil, Adweek Buzz Award for best Guerrilla campaign; and multiple awards at the Marketing Awards, Bessies, ADCC and Applied Arts.