Hinz & Kunzt Promo, Case study CARDBOARD PROTEST DURING ELECTION by J. Walter Thompson Frankfurt

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Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers, Social Services
Media Promo & PR, Case study
Market Germany
Agency J. Walter Thompson Frankfurt
Client Service Director Dirk Haase
Illustrator Isabelle Göntgen
Released September 2012

Credits & Description

Category: Public Affairs
Advertiser: HINZ & KUNZT
Concept & Copy: Michael Muck (JWT Germany)
Concept & Art Direction: Petra Sievers (JWT Germany)
Illustrator: Isabelle Göntgen (Isabelle Illustration)
CCO / Creative Director: Till Hohmann (JWT Germany)
Client Service Director: Dirk Haase (JWT Germany)
Project Manager: Cornelia Fleig (JWT Germany)
Art Direction: Regina Groffy (JWT Germany)
Graphic Design: Ainara del Valle Perez-Solero (JWT Germany)
Creative Director / MD: Cedric Ebener (CE+Co GmbH)
Project Manager: Annika Jungclaus (CE+Co GmbH)
Project Manager: Kim Sattler (CE+Co GmbH)
Creative Producer: Benjamin Nadjib (CE+Co GmbH)
Media placement: 400 Guerilla Posters - Directly On Vacant Houses In Hamburg - 03 February 2011
Media placement: 60 Floorboards - In Main Shopping Areas - 07 February 2011
Media placement: 1 Giant 300m2 Floorposter - On Main City Square - 17 February 2011
Media placement: 1000 Standard Postersites - Standard Sites - 10 February 2011
Media placement: Facebook & Webpage Specials - Web / Facebook Group - 03 February 2011
Media placement: PR Materials - Press Conference - 03 February 2011
Media placement: 10000 Solidarity Buttons - Street Promotion - 07 February 2011

Summary of the Campaign
Hinz&Kunzt streetmagazine Hamburg wanted to influence the city council/state government elections with a public affairs campaign. The starting point: In rich Hamburg, Germany, thousands of people are homeless and even more people cannot afford to pay rent anymore, while at the same time over 1.4 million square meters of flats and offices are left vacant on purpose. This is an unbelievable imbalance needed to be made public, get media attention and thus become a key topic of the elections. The core audience: 1.2 million residents of Hamburg eligible to vote. The strategic insight that helped shape the idea: Hamburg would be flooded with the typical, glossy, colorful but boring political campaigning from all parties. With an unconventional approach, public stunts and the right messaging it would be easy to gain attention. A guerilla campaign was launched to mark over 400 vacant buildings in the city. Additional stunts, including a very large one, were carried out in the city center. The campaign used portraits of homeless that were cut into cardboard alongside their messages. This made for perfect news images. Via press kits, invites to the sites of the stunts and many interviews this guerilla ambient campaign found its way into many reports.

The Situation
In rich Hamburg, Germany, thousands of people are homeless and even more people cannot afford to pay rent anymore, while at the same time over 1.4 million square meters of flats and offices are left vacant on purpose. As city hall/state government elections were coming up, this important topic and unbelievable imbalance needed to be made public in order to influence voting behavior. It was the right time to generate a public outcry.

The Goal
Without a budget for a traditional paid media campaign the goal was to create attention for the topic of homelessness despite large amounts of vacant buildings. In order to make it a major topic of the elections, it was key to create and maximize media attention. It was also key to win supporters to make the campaign happen in the first place. The ultimate goal was to help shift the election in a favorable direction: from the conservative to a more social government.

The Strategy
Starting three weeks before the elections with something that would stand out amidst all the political campaigning in the city - with a minimal to non-existent budget! The strategy was to create guerilla stunts that would make the problem "visible" and create public and press attention. At the same time direct press relations would focus on giving profound background information and interview opportunities. And lastly: online would be used to increase public support and start a discussion. All channels would be linked through tonality and content.

Cardboard is the cliché material of homelessness. Using this material is cheap. The special design of handcut portraits of homeless made the campaign stand out: These faces gave the messages punch and made the problem personal. They also stood in contrast to the colorful election posters of the political parties. Look, feel, and content added up and made a striking campaign. But the guerilla placement directly on vacant buildings, as well as placement of cardboard floor posters in shopping areas (including a giant 300 square meter version on the main market) are what created the media attention and direct engagement needed. All materials included a call to action: vote against homelessness, discuss online, participate in our survey. In short: nontraditional media and unconventional design were used to create maximum awareness - and images that the press picked up. The press was invited on location and given full information.

Documented Results
Prior to launch, the design idea, the topic and content of the campaign helped to win more than 20 companies to contribute work and materials (printing, media space, etc). This was key in order to be able to produce a campaign that really reaches the whole city. Only 19.000EUR invested created an advertising value of nearly 300.000 EUR. More importantly; the press did get on board and countless articles and TV reports followed. The topic got into public sphere and actually was picked up by the political parties. The combination of guerilla placement of media and media reaction garnered 22 million contacts in Hamburg. This awareness and attention was more than ever imagined possible. Most importantly; in the end, the ruling conservative party lost and a new, more social mayor won. To this day, the topic of homelessness and difficult rental market are still a leading theme in local press.