Campaign: 24-hour Famine
Client: World Vision
PR team: Kazoo
Timescale: August 2004-March 2005
'24-hour Famine' is the annual fundraiser, aimed at 12 to 18-year-olds, of international aid and development agency World Vision. It encourages young people to fast for a day in return for sponsorship. Held from 18-20 February, the theme for this year's campaign was children orphaned by HIV/Aids in some of the world's poorest countries.
To engage young people and build awareness of the affect of HIV/Aids on children. To build a campaign over a six-month period leading up to the 24-hour Famine weekend and lay the foundations for making it the most popular youth fundraiser by 2010.
Strategy and Plan
Because World Vision wanted to reach a young audience, its PR agency Kazoo set about recruiting celebrities to front the campaign in a credible, teen-friendly way. It plumped for former Atomic Kittens Jenny Frost and Liz McClarnon.
The pair took part in a photoshoot and an exclusive interview for New magazine on their role as ambassadors for the charity, with pictures and a news release sold in to the national and regional press. Kazoo secured several radio spots and TV appearances for the duo during the run-up to 24-hour Famine.
In addition to press interviews, Atomic Kitten reformed to record a one-off single, Cradle, in aid of the event. The song reached number ten in the charts, while Jenny and Liz joined other media partners Now, the Sunday Mirror and Sugar on a press trip to Zambia, where a film crew shot exclusive footage for GMTV and the promotional video for the song.
Kazoo teamed up with fashion chain Kookai in a bid to form strategic alliances with a lifestyle brand that resonated with a teen audience.
Kookai helped organise a T-shirt design competition, with the winning entry being sold in its stores. Press releases around the competition were sent to national and regional media.
Finally, Kazoo commissioned a survey of 12 to 18-year-olds, which questioned their personal responsibility and their views on issues that affect them. A press release was sent out, revealing that most teenagers questioned saw Prince Harry as a 'youth ambassador'.
Measurement and Evaluation
The campaign produced 109 items of coverage mentioning the 24-hour Famine, including spreads in the Sunday Mirror and Sugar magazine and an article in Now. Other outlets to cover the story included GMTV, CD:UK, Newsround, MTV, the Daily Star, the Daily Express, Ministry of Mayhem, OK!, Star, Reveal, TV Hits and Radio 1.
Although exact figures have not been released, Kazoo claims more people took part in this year's 24-hour Famine than in 2004. The charity says it is confident that it will reach its £1m target from cash raised by children on the weekend and T-shirt sales.
Sunday Mirror feature writer Zoe Nauman produced a double-page spread on the trip to Zambia. She says: 'Atomic Kitten was the hook, but we also felt that 24-hour Famine reflected issues that would interest our readers' children. The PR agency was brilliant, fully briefed us and gave us lots of time with the girls.'
Lesley Naylor, administrator of Children with AIDS Charity, is the author of Judge for Yourself, a book about miscarriages of justice.
As a campaigner I was caught by the connection between historical hunger strikes and World Vision's 24-hour Famine.
In recent years there have been well-publicised hunger strikes for various causes. To bring this concept (however diluted) so successfully to the attention of young people - opening their eyes to the hunger faced by other young people living in former colonial countries - served to raise awareness of poverty and HIV/Aids in general. It raised significant funds, too.
The main downside of the campaign is that it was solely spearheaded by white pop celebrities in the form of Jenny and Liz. It has been socially conscious reggae and hip-hop artists (Miss Dynamite, Roots Manuva, Steel Pulse, Estelle, Rebel Uprising, Blak Twang, Dizzee Rascal, Skinny Man) who have articulated the struggle for justice across the world.
Perception informs attitude in the world of media, and this campaign would have been better served had it been more representative of those artists with a long history of struggle against poverty and injustice.
Then it might have become a 24-hour hunger strike, rather than a 'fantastic and fun famine'. But there is always next year.