UNMC enlists WE for its Stand Up, Speak Out push

WASHINGTON: The United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) hired Waggener Edstrom Worldwide to raise awareness and drive participation in its two-day Stand Up, Speak Out series of worldwide events taking place on October 16 and 17.

WASHINGTON: The United Nations Millennium Campaign (UNMC) hired Waggener Edstrom Worldwide to raise awareness and drive participation in its two-day Stand Up, Speak Out series of worldwide events taking place on October 16 and 17.

WE is taking the effort both online and off. Besides driving participation, the firm is engaging social activists globally, nationally, and locally through social media like Facebook in Sweden and Twitter in Japan. The firm said it's trying to drive "digital chatter" and has already seen a 30% rise in visits to the Stand Up, Speak Out videos on YouTube.

"Part of the challenge is understanding the influence community [in each country]," said Torod Neptune, SVP and US public affairs practice leader. "We are [engaging] teams in individual countries [that] can target the strategies we're developing globally for in-market [purposes]."

The UNMC launched in September 2002, two years after the Millennium Summit, where 189 countries signed on to realize the Millennium Development Goals by 2015. Among those goals: Ending hunger and providing universal education in an effort to end extreme poverty.

Stand Up, Speak Out, a joint program with the Global Call to Action against Poverty, brings attention to meeting that goal.

The main focus is breaking the Guinness World Record for the most people mobilized for a single cause - set last year when 23,542,614 individuals took part in 11,646 events around the world over 24 hours. This year, the Web site is critical in helping people sign up for events, organize their own events, or sign on to acknowledge their participation.

Work began 30 days ago and spans WE's offices around the globe. This effort is being specifically handled by 75 staffers, but the entire firm is working toward driving internal awareness. WE would also like to see the PR industry become more involved.

"I think this is the highest calling for our industry," Neptune said. "I think our industry has the opportunity and the wherewithal to demonstrate leadership [in social issues]."

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