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Show 69 – Cannes Lions 2018 Pt.3 – Campaigns for Good

The final episode recorded at the Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2018, recorded in the ICCO House of PR, in one of the cabanas on the beach front outside the main festival hall, where we featured three campaigns around charity and healthcare that were being discussed at the event.  Our guests were:

  1. Josie Naughton, Co-Founder, Help Refugees
  2. Praful Akali, Founder & MD, Medulla Communications and Pooran Isarsingh, Patient
  3. Lori Davison, VP Brand Strategy & Communications, SickKids Foundation

Part 1 – Josie, Help Refugees

Our guest for this first interview was Josie Naughton, the Co-Founder of Help Refugees, one of the primary humanitarian organisations dealing with the refugee crisis, supporting over 80 projects in 10 countries (having worked in thirteen) across Europe and the Middle East, and having already helped more than 722,000 people, raising over £12m.

Josie was in Cannes seeking more support from some of the biggest global media partners around to help their cause.

Chatting with Josie Naughton

Josie explained that in 2015, the year the charity launched, over 1m people arrived in Europe [as refugees], which was when the term ‘refugee crisis’ was coined.  She said that everyone was seeing the awful images on the news of people on boats, sometimes drowning, but others living in awful conditions, and she and some friends felt that just posting something on Facebook wasn’t enough and so decided to try and raise £1000 to fund a van-load of resources, such as tents, shoes and sleeping bags, that she could take to Calais to give to some of the refugees.   However, within one week, they had raised £56,000, and having set up an Amazon wish list of those items, they began to receive 7000 packages from Amazon each day, forcing them to somehow organise it all.  They therefore recruited volunteers to help them but when they arrived in Calais, they found 5000 people living in a field with no support – babies without nappies, people without shoes, tents with holes in them, no wash facilities, no food.  She therefore partnered with a local French Association, renting a warehouse and starting a volunteer programme, shelter building programme and distribution system and then using their logistics and support skills, became, as she described, an umbrella support team for lots of other organisations that began to provide support to the refugees.

Help Refugees soon started to support refugees in other areas and grass roots organisations that are setting up field hospitals, carrying out search and rescue, or providing distribution centres for tents and meals etc.  They are now working in Syria, regularly travelling to the border with Turkey and Josie said that she was in Greece only a couple of weeks before our interview, where she said 5000 people arrived the previous month with babies now sleeping in tents, people with no food, and the refugee camp on Lesbos, Moria, an old prison that was designed for 1800 people, currently has 7000 people living in awful conditions.

Josie was in Cannes with Help Refugees’ partners at Clear Channel promoting a campaign that featured an animation called ‘The Journey’ by Majid Adin, an Iranian refugee and animator, who was actually living in the camp in Calais when Help Refugees started working there.

Last year, Majid won a competition organised by Elton John to produce a video for his song ‘Rocket Man’.

Majid’s video for Help refugees shows the journey of two unaccompanied children from their homes, to the boat to the camp, which was playing on a huge screen outside the Grand Hotel in Cannes during the festival.

Josie also talked about their #ChooseLove campaign, which started with a t-shirt design by Katharine Hamnett, who designed the ‘Choose Life’ t-shirts in the 80s.  However, the campaign was more than just a hash tag, as choose.love is the campaign website, which is a shop that allows people to purchase real gifts for the refugees, such as life jackets and shoes.  In fact, for £499, there is an option to purchase the whole store, which will include children’s clothing, education materials, hot food, a month’s living expenses for a refugee family and loads more.

Josie made the point that Help Refugees’ core costs are only 6%, but that 100% of the money from the store goes to exactly where they say it goes.

Part 2 – Praful Akali, Founder & MD, Medulla Communications and Pooran Isarsingh, Patient

Starts at 16:23

Chatting with Pooran Isarsingh and Madulla’s Founder & MD, Praful Akali

In our second interview of this episode we were joined by our oldest guest to appear on the csuite podcast, at the age of 86, Pooran Isarsingh, a terminally-ill patient from India, who together with a number of other people in a similar situation to her, has featured in an ad campaign called ‘Last Laugh’, where she and her fellow patients had to perform stand-up comedy telling jokes about their conditions.

Pooran was in Cannes with Praful Akali, Founder & MD of Medulla, the healthcare agency from Mumbai in India responsible for creating the campaign for The Indian Association of Palliative Care (IAPC), that helps patients get comfortable with death.

The campaign won an award at Cannes Lions the previous year, and as Praful explained, in India, talking about death is a taboo subject.  He said that IAPC has been working to promote palliative care for about 25 years, but if people don’t talk about death, they won’t talk about palliative care either, with access to it down to 1%.  They therefore wanted to do something about this and felt the best way to get people to talk about death is to laugh about it.

Pooran added that she wanted people to laugh every day rather than cry and think of death, which is inevitable and so you should enjoy life and when death comes, welcome it.

We asked Pooran to share her favourite joke from the campaign:

I went to the visa office to ask for the visa to come to Cannes.

When the visa officer saw me, he asked: “Is this your passport?”.

I said, “Yes, this is my passport”

He said, “You are the oldest person we are giving the visa to for France” and he started clapping.

So, I said “What are you clapping for?  Clap when I come back alive!”

Given the sensitivity of the subject and the fact they were breaking a taboo, Praful said that they were afraid that there may be negative responses to the campaign, but actually they didn’t really have any.  He thinks it was because of how inspirational the patients were that took part in the video, who they got trained for several weeks before filming by professional stand up comedians.  He said that you just felt good when you watched the video and nothing negative came out of it.

Praful said that with this being a complex area, they never really knew if the project would work out, particularly having to train terminally-ill patients for six weeks, and in fact, two of the patients didn’t survive the time to take part in the video. They also never knew when those who did go on stage would even be able to perform, for example, this was Pooran’s first ever time on stage, at the age of 86, although Pooran said that even though she didn’t know if she herself could perform, the subject was so engrossing and nice she wanted to do it so that people could get the message of not to be afraid of death.

Part 3 – Lori Davison, SicKKids

Interview starts at 25:44

For our final interview from Cannes Lions 2018, we spoke to Lori Davison, VP for Brand Strategy & Communications at the SickKids Foundation about their award-winning campaign, ‘SickKids VS’ that has the aim of raising a staggering 1.3billion Canadian dollars by 2022 to help fund a major overhaul for the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto.

Lori was presenting at Cannes explaining why SickKids had to stop talking like a charity and instead act like a performance brand.

Chatting with Lori Davison or SickKids Foundation

Lori explained that within the charitable sector, there is a familiar zone for advertising and communications that tends to tap into empathy, and specifically within children’s hospitals and child related causes.  She added that the tonality tends to be around nurturing, that is meant to tap into your heart strings and get you to reach into your wallet as a result.

However, Lori said that the Hospital for Sick Children in Toronto is a world-renowned hospital, known for solving big problems in child health and in fact is one of the top three children’s hospitals in the world.  They therefore felt that there was a side of the story to tell that was more about the performance of the institution and the people on the frontline committing their lives every day to bring knowledge and expertise to bare to do everything they can to help the kids.  That story, she said, was around the will to win, which is what they decided to lean into with the SickKids VS campaign.

The long form version of the campaign is SickKids VS the greatest challenges in child health, which can lead to SickKids VS Cancer, SickKids VS Heart Disease, etc, and working with their agency, Cossette, they adopted the athletic tonality and imagery of a performance brand, as Lori described, the human spirit that is that part of that realm of marketing, and carried that through all aspects of the campaign.

Lori feels that the big challenge in their campaign when it comes to charitable giving is overcoming apathy and so she sees themselves as ‘waging war on inertia’ and by adopting this creative, they are challenging their audience to take action.

The aim of the shift in campaign was to bring in new donors to the charity, outside of their core target of 45+ women with children, as with such a huge financial target, Lori said they knew they wouldn’t reach it by telling the same audience what she already knew.  They therefore wanted to attract additional younger donors and more men too.  The campaign has been a success in bringing that audience in and in fact, Lori said that their growth in donations is coming from a younger and more male audience and they’ve actually seen higher donations from men, resulting in an increase in average donations too.  However, importantly, the person who likes the campaign the most is still their core audience of 45+ women, meaning they haven’t alienated them.

The campaign has even extended into merchandise, such as t-shirts, which Lori said has generated close to 200,000 Canadian dollars and in fact, at the time of our interview, the overall campaign had just reached the half way mark of it’s target, raising 650m Canadian dollars.

The campaign even caught the attention of Ryan Reynolds who Lori said reached out personally to them.

To make a donation to the SickKids VS campaign, please visit FundTheFight.ca

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