No sales spells success for award winning marketing campaign

Helene Montpetit    November 11, 2014


Organization name: World Vision Canada

Industry: Charity

Description World Vision Canada is a non-profit charitable organization dedicated to working with children & communities.

A few notes on marketing with social media
Marketers who use social media say there are three top advantages to doing so: increased exposure, more traffic and better results in search rankings. According to the 2014 Social Media Marketing Industry Report published by, social media is now routinely integrated into marketing mixes. The most commonly used platforms are Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn and YouTube. Blogging is the next growth area, a trend that reflects widespread belief that original written content is the most effective way to engage followers and and pick up fans. Only 27% of users currently outsource their social media activities. The areas most likely to be left to outside sources are design and development, content creation and analytics. Monitoring activity on sites and networks, updating status, tweeting and community management are mostly kept in-house.

What does it take to run a solid campaign? World Vision, Real Interactive and KBS+ collaborated on a hugely successful effort that, contrary to most, was designed specifically to prevent sales.

World Vision Campaign – No Child For Sale
In 2013, World Vision ran a brilliant campaign that took away several prizes at the PR¡MO awards, including Best of Show, Cause; Gold for Best Cause or Charity Marketing; Gold for Best Integrated Campaign; and Silver for Best Activity Generating Brand Awareness. Here are a few lessons garnered from studying it.

(To see the full infographic, click on the image above.)

Set campaign goals
Identifying the goals of a campaign and making sure they are in line with the overall mission and strategy of your company or organization is crucial. In this case, it was felt that the Canadian public lacked awareness and understanding of World Vision’s mission to stop child slave labour. The goal set for the campaign was therefore to increase awareness of the problem and to inform people of its impact on the millions of children subjected to dirty, dangerous and degrading work.

Pick your tools
This particular campaign beautifully integrated traditional marketing tools and newer ones, making use of television spots, print ads, digital ads, out-of home ads, experiential marketing and promotion through social media.

Get attention with hard-hitting visuals
To increase awareness, one must get attention. To ensure this, World Vision chose a bold, slightly disturbing campaign that did not sugarcoat reality. In it, children are shown with price tags around their necks, encased in packaging and loaded on conveyer belts, like any object scanned at North American checkout counters. The effect is somewhat softened by the fact the children are illustrations, but the selective use of bright orange against a dark brown background still ensures a certain edge is retained.

To engage, be useful
The campaign gives detailed information, makes a call for action and provides several options that allow people to help. The content is delivered in simple, pithy sentences; it is interesting, informative and useful, all requirements that motivate engagement.

The infographic specifically informs on sexual exploitation. Hard-hitting numbers are prominently displayed – (2 million children worldwide, 32 billion dollars). Issues are explained in  short paragraphs and presented next to powerful images, such as children with a bar across their eyes. A supply/demand explanation is provided that singles out culprits: travel agencies, family members of the exploited children, trafickers, pimps, brothel owners, without forgetting the consumers: child sex tourists, pedophiles child sex offenders. How the sex trade is carried out and where it takes place are clearly indicated. Finally, solutions are offered alongside hopeful statements.

Make it easy
The clearer and easier to navigate your dedicated pages or website are, the more visitors will be inclined to share and engage with the content. The No Child For Sale campaign has a clear and easy to navigate website with the following elements:

  • Two impossible to miss, simple headings: Learn something and Do something, each of which provide a roll down menu with options to choose from.
  • A rolling image menu featuring two distinct videos and the infographic pictured above.
  • A call to sign a petition to fight child slavery.
  • A call to donate to World Vision.
  • An up-to-date Twitter feed.
  • A poll that people can participate in to express their views on a key issue.
  • A call to advocate on behalf of children, with a hyperlink to another page that features options people can choose from to get involved.
  • Case studies.
  • Sharing buttons for Facebook, Twitter and an emailing option
  • A hashtag was created and used throughout the campaign (#nochildforsale).
  • Follow buttons for Facebook, Twitter, Pinterest and YouTube

On the topic of slave labour other than sexual, several videos are made available on the site that link to the World Vision YouTube channel. Some that contrast the life of Canadian children with that of children in countries where exploitation is carried out.

Some that simply tell the story of what life is like for these children:

What results were achieved?

  • the campaign reached 1 in 3 canadians
  • In 2013 only, over 210,000 views of the videos
  • 28% of those visiting the site took action:
    • 92,941 signed a petition;
    • over 41,000 shared the message;
    • close to 19 million saw the message or watched a video.
    • the campaign was shared by the media and celebrities (Global Montreal, Global News, Upworthy )
    • 102 million media impressions were generated by 215 media stories.
    • 500 new sponsors signed up on the World Vision site.

For more on how to develop successful sites and campaigns, see the podcast by Social Media Marketing.

Lessons learned:

  • Social media is now used in over 80% of Canadian marketing mixes.
  • Most used platforms are: Facebook, Twitter, Linked In and YouTube
  • The next growth area is blogging.
  • Define the problem and set goals.
  • Pick the right tools and networks.
  • Get attention with strong visuals and audio.
  • Be useful: inform and provide options and solutions.
  • Make it easy: Keep it simple and straightforward, put share and follow buttons in easy to find location and provide them for all your content.
  • Liven things up with video: tell a story, get emotional, explain graphs and charts, entertain.

Submitted by: Hélène Montpetit, University of Waterloo Student.

Author Contact:

If you have concerns as to the accuracy of anything posted on this site please send your concerns to Peter Carr, Programme Director.


World Vision Parodies Home Shopping for “No Child For Sale”, Marketing

PR¡MO Awards 2014