Google Promo, Case study 361° TOLERANCE

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Industry Business equipment & services, Corporate Image
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Released July 2009

Credits & Description

Category: Corporate Responsibility
Communications & Public Affairs Sr. Associate / YouTube Spokesperson: Henning Dorstewitz (Google Germany)
Head of Communications & Public Affairs Google Germany, Austria, Switzerland: Kay Oberbeck (Google Germany)
European Policy Counsel Germany & Austria & Switzerland: Annette Kroeber-Riel (Google Germany)
Projectmanager: Claire Taube (NONOGOS)
Projectmanager: Anne Peterseim (Kolle Rebbe)
Manager: Jörn Menge (Laut gegen Nazis)
Media placement: Press Conference With Partners And The Launch Of The Campaign - E.g. TV: ARD Tagesschau, RTL II News; Print: Welt Kompakt, Tagesspiegel; Online: - 26 August 2009
Media placement: 'Day Of Tolerance' And 'Silbermond' Live At The Winners’ School - E.g. TV: Guten Abend RTL, Sat.1 17.30 Live; Print: Gifhorner Kurier - 16 Nov 2009
Media placement: The Award Ceremony At The Federal Chancellery - E.g. TV: Rbb Abendschau 19.30; Print: Gifhorner Kurier; Online: - 3 Dec 2009

Summary of the Campaign
YouTube, as an online video platform with user-generated content, relies on free and tolerant Internet culture and like-minded users. The campaign "361° Grad Toleranz" (361° tolerance – the YouTube video contest for high school students against social exclusion) addressed the YouTube community and core school-age dialogue groups, calling on them to promote the campaign values. Students were to raise awareness for ‘tolerance’ in self-produced videos portraying diverse perspectives. The campaign also enhances YouTube’s brand image as an outward-looking platform with a fair community culture. The campaign platform is the YouTube channel The channel operators and the community discuss tolerance and the contest via e-mail and messaging. Co-initiators and partners from social institutions and educational establishments provide expertise for the six-week campaign. The channel is linked to other websites. Chancellor Angela Merkel is the campaign's patron. She and other prominent supporters from the world of sports, music and film appear in video messages calling for participation. Schools and other multipliers receive information and marketing materials in order to reach students not yet active on YouTube. The campaign also draws widespread attention in the German media and political scene. It activates the community, as an enduring example for tolerance on YouTube with hundreds of videos.

The Goal
The goal of the campaign was to strengthen YouTube’s positioning as an open-minded and tolerant brand and strengthen a corresponding usage culture on the platform. Under the heading of 'tolerance' it should initiate social engagement, civil courage and active discussion of the topic. Users should set an appropriate example on the platform with their own videos and comments, inspiring other users. Even after the campaign, the engagement and tolerant, open-minded position of the community members should remain visible for all Internet users. Apart from online ads on, the campaign should function without ad support. Criticism by the media of 'being too passive' about xenophobic UGC on YouTube should be notably reduced.

The channel received 260,000 views and still has about 1,700 subscribers. More than a million users viewed the videos by the prominent supporters. In six weeks, participants submitted more than 350 videos. The YouTube brand benefitted from the engagement of its community and criticism stopped. The campaign generated broad coverage across all, national and regional media types. The TV programmes ARD Tagesschau and RTL II News as well as stations RTL and Sat.1 reported on it. Print media across the country, such as Der Tagesspiegel, Juedische Allgemeine and DIE WELT, and professional publications such as Politik und Kommunikation reported several times on this. The radio reports on large regional stations like rbb, NDR, HR, Radio ffn and HitRadio Antenne. Coverage amounted to about 6.5 million TV viewers, 13 million radio listeners, 5 million print readers and 54 million unique users online. On the 'Day of Tolerance'; at the overall winners' school, roughly 1,700 people experienced the highlight of the campaign: the free school concert by the band ‘Silbermond’.

Chancellor Angela Merkel agreed to serve as the campaign patron. Dozens of other celebrities also supported the campaign. At a press conference in Berlin with celebrities, the channel and the call-for-action videos were presented to the public. Interested users got tips on how to apply via direct contact with the channel operator. Five thousand schools and institutions were reached with nationwide mailings addressing users not yet active on YouTube. During the contest, additional press materials, interviews with celebrities and the growing body of submitted videos were offered to national media. Local media received information about promising contestants from their region. The winners were visited at their school, where a surprise announcement of their victory is made, followed by the band ‘Silbermond’ playing in the school’s gym hall. All the winners travelled together to Berlin where they received their awards in the Chancellery. All events were accompanied by national and regional media.

The Situation
YouTube stands for free and open-minded exchange of opinions throughout the world. As a platform for user-generated content, YouTube is dependent on a fair and tolerant coexistence of its users. The prescreening of all videos is practically impossible with an upload volume of 24 hours of video content per minute. At the same time, intolerance, discrimination and xenophobia are ever-present social problems. Also on YouTube and in YouTube’s traditional core target group: school-age Internet users. YouTube gets more and more criticized by the German media, NGOs, public and politicians for 'being too passive' when it comes to xenophobic videos on its platform.

The Strategy
Across Germany, in call-for-action videos on YouTube, partners and celebrities call on students to address the topic of ‘tolerance’ in their own videos and upload them to the channel: A famous German politician should be recruited as the campaign’s patron and other prominent figures should support the campaign and lend it credence. All of them draw the attention of young people and teachers. Other partners and co-initiators come from the political-social sphere and contribute subject expertise. They recruit for the campaign among educational establishments. Several live events should draw the media's attention. Those events and interesting contestants from certain regions should be placed in the local and national media. Because as many participants as possible should submit varied videos, three submission categories are defined: commentary, music video and short stories. The highlight of the campaign is: a live concert by ‘Silbermond’ (MTV’s 2009 'Best German Act') and discussion forums with experts and stars at the winners' school.