CAMPAIGNS: Public Awareness - Children’s rights in the spotlight

Client: UNICEF

Client: UNICEF

Campaign: 10th Anniversary of the UN Convention on the Rights of the


PR Team: In-house

Timescale: 15 - 21 November 1999

Budget: Undisclosed

The UNICEF Convention on the Rights of the Child - the most ratified

human rights treaty in the world - celebrated its tenth anniversary on

20 November 1999. The convention covers all aspects of children’s lives,

from education and health, to protection from abuse and the right to


Just two countries have yet to sign the treaty - the US and Somalia.

UNICEF estimates that since the convention came into existence, one

million more children survive beyond their fifth birthday each year.

However, as 12 million children die of mainly preventable diseases every

year, UNICEF believes that there is much more to be done. To mark the

anniversary, UNICEF ran a week-long campaign to remind the public of the

rights of children.


To raise awareness of the convention and remind people of the poor,

endangered and marginalised children worldwide. Also, to call on the UK

Government to appoint a Children’s Rights Commissioner, who would act as

an independent advocate for children. Following a model used in other

European countries, the commissioner would look across all areas of

Government work, acting in the interests of children. Although the

commissioner would have no legislative power, he or she could not be

denied access to any parts of Government.

Strategy and Plan

Pop star and UNICEF supporter Robbie Williams kicked off the UK campaign

with a photocall at the Museum of Childhood in Bethnal Green, East


Williams joined 25 children from a local school to ’Make a Mark and Make

a Wish’ by adding his painted handprint to a display created by the

children and making a wish for children everywhere over the next


At the start of the week, UNICEF released the results of a MORI poll

into what children think of their rights and organised local surgeries

for MPs and schoolchildren. Participating children challenged their MPs

to take into account the national and international issues that mattered

to them.

A world record was also set for the number of people taking part in a

simultaneous performance when 12,000 children from 100 stage schools

around the country performed The Rainbow Juggler - a specially created


Other activities included the unveiling of toy store Hamley’s Christmas

window by boy band A1 and the announcement of the first UNICEF Child

Rights Lawyer award, to recognise the contribution of family lawyers in

protecting children. UNICEF press officer Sarah Vincent and executive

director David Bull were put forward for interviews with the press and


Measurement and Evaluation

UNICEF has yet to formally evaluate the campaign. The results of the

MORI poll were covered on BBC News 24, BBC Breakfast News and by PA and

BBC Online as well as national and local radio. The announcement of the

Child Rights Lawyer Award was covered in the Lawyer, the Times and the

Gazette Weekly Journal of the Law Society. The Robbie Williams photocall

received the bulk of the mainstream coverage from Newsroom South East

and the Big Breakfast through to the Daily Sport and Hello magazine.

Sarah Vincent and David Bull appeared on various stations from CNN to

Sky Television’s Sunday Morning With Adam Boulton.


Although the campaign has not yet been evaluated formally, it

communicated its message effectively through a broad range of media.

The broadcast interviews also made the public aware of UNICEF’s

spearheading of a drive by charities to call on the Government for a

Children’s Rights Commissioner. In the wake of the report into Britain’s

biggest child abuse enquiry, published this week, the Government

announced it will appoint a national children’s rights director.

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