CAMPAIGNS: CHARITY; Forcing China into admission

Client: The Dying Rooms Trust PR Team: Omer-li Cohen PR Campaign: To increase awareness and raise funds for The Dying Rooms Trust Timescale: July 1996 - December 1996 Cost: pounds 500,000 - the majority through charitable donations

Client: The Dying Rooms Trust

PR Team: Omer-li Cohen PR

Campaign: To increase awareness and raise funds for The Dying Rooms

Trust

Timescale: July 1996 - December 1996

Cost: pounds 500,000 - the majority through charitable donations



The Dying Rooms Trust charity was set up in the wake of a flood of

unsolicited donations following the broadcast of two award-winning TV

documentaries which highlighted the plight of Chinese orphan girls.



Omer-li Cohen, managing director of Omer-li Cohen PR, was so moved by

the documentaries that she approached the Trust and offered to set up a

campaign for no fee, enlisting the support of friends, colleagues,

celebrities, including Paul McCartney and Elton John and organisations

including The Body Shop, Mothercare and Island Records.



Objective



To revive awareness of the plight of Chinese orphans and to raise pounds

250,000 this year and pounds 1million thereafter per annum for the Dying

Rooms Trust, through a new donations phoneline and Freepost address.



Tactics



Omer-li Cohen PR chose the The Dying Rooms Trust logo, a kite, as the

campaign’s emblem. A 60-second film called ‘Kite’ launched the campaign

at a star-studded press launch on 31 July at Planet Hollywood. The

commercial was screened in 19 independent cinemas and will be shown in

multiplexes in October and November.



Omer-li Cohen PR worked with sponsors to maximise the impact of the

campaign, setting up billboards, a roving poster truck, and an Internet

site. Postcards with the message ‘In China sex is a matter of life and

death - boys live, girls die’ and the charity’s freephone number were

placed in restaurants.



Omer-li Cohen PR chose shops with a politically aware image, such as The

Body Shop, in which to conduct a shop window campaign, marketing T-

shirts and bags emblazoned with the ‘boys live, girls die’ logo. It is

also helping to market a Chinese kite designed for the Trust by Worlds

Apart. Kites will be launched at festivals all over the UK culminating

in a kite flying extravaganza in June 1997 to mark the transfer of Hong

Kong to Chinese rule.



The only resistance to the campaign came from the CAA, which licenses

cinema commercials, which disputed whether the Dying Rooms existed in

China and demanded that the ‘Kite’ commercial was toned down before

release.



Results



Nine days after the first news releases were sent out, the Chinese

Government admitted for the first time the existence of the Dying Rooms

and acknowledged that the problem was so great it required dollars 8.6

billion aid from the World Bank. While Omer-li Cohen PR does not take

responsibility for this turnaround, it believes the campaign was ‘the

straw that broke the camel’s back’.



Before the campaign launch, pledges were petering out, with a mean of

pounds 5,000 brought in each month. At the time of going to press, the

number of people pledging money has increased by 28 per cent.



Verdict



The campaign was aided by an existing awareness and sympathy for the

problem, although previous coverage following the documentaries may

have limited the amount of new interest Omer-li Cohen could hope to

generate.



The campaign launch was overshadowed by two high-profile domestic ‘baby’

stories: the destruction of frozen embryos in fertility clinics and

news of a woman pregnant with eight babies. Omer-li Cohen PR attempted

to draw attention back to the campaign by ‘piggy-backing’ the plight of

Chinese orphans on to these stories.



Omer-li Cohen PR was praised by the media for its sincerity, enthusiasm

and creativity. The press launch was well-received but journalists have

commented that the campaign has now become almost invisible. Some were

disappointed that they had not been kept informed of developments since

the launch.



It remains to be seen whether the cinema advertisements will

reinvigorate the campaign and bring it to a wider audience.



Have you registered with us yet?

Register now to enjoy more articles and free email bulletins

Register
Already registered?
Sign in

Would you like to post a comment?

Please Sign in or register.