New York City Rescue Mission Promo New York City Rescue Mission: UNDERHEARD IN NEW YORK (movie) by BBH New York

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New York City Rescue Mission: UNDERHEARD IN NEW YORK (movie)

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Industry Public awareness, Charities, Foundations, Volunteers
Media Promo & PR
Market United States
Agency BBH New York
Art Director Willy Wong, Jessica Shriftman
Copywriter Zac Sax
Released June 2011


Cannes Lions 2011
PR Lions Best Use of Social Media Bronze
PR Lions Charity and Not for Profit Bronze

Credits & Description

Type of Entry: Sectors & Services
Category: Charity and Not for Profit
Entrant Company: BBH New York, USA
PR/Advertising Agency: BBH New York, USA
Art Director: Jessica Shriftman (BBH New York)
Copywriter: Zac Sax (BBH New York)
Creative/Account Manager: Rosemary Melchior (BBH New York)
Creative/Strategic Planner: Robert Weeks (BBH New York)
Art Director: Willy Wong (BBH New York)
Strategic Director: Heidi Hackemer (BBH New York)
Account Director: Dane Larson (BBH New York)
Media Designer: Brian Moore (BBH New York)
Director of Innovation: Saneel Radia (BBH New York)
Describe the campaign/entry:
Our agency was challenged by the New York City Rescue Mission to raise awareness of the worldwide homelessness problem. We developed Underheard in New York with the objectives of first helping members of the marginalized homeless population speak for themselves and then, inspiring the world to listen. We identified four homeless men and set them up with Twitter accounts and prepaid phones with unlimited text messaging service. We asked them to tweet about their life experiences by sending text messages to Twitter, broadcasting their stories to the world. We supplemented their Twitter feeds with a branded Underheard in New York stream which aggregated the tweets of the four participants. We also developed a micro-site and maintained a daily blog to articulate the tweeters’ stories in detail and provide video and written content about the needs, difficulties and dreams of the four men. In addition to creating a network of over 18,000 Twitter followers and earning over 100 million unpaid media impressions, Underheard in New York also achieved discrete results for each participant.
Members of the community volunteered gifts both financial and priceless, from metrocards to reconnecting a man and his family.
Describe the brief from the client:
The campaign goal for Underheard in New York is to help the marginalized homeless population speak for themselves and inspire the world to listen. After achieving the initial goal of giving the participants a voice through Twitter, we raised awareness of homelessness by developing a community of over 18,000 Twitter followers across the world, and continued to leverage this community to achieve real outcomes for the four participants, highlighting their emphasizing their unique narratives to further raise awareness.
We implemented a media and propagation strategy which earned over 100 million media impressions across all channels.
Underheard in New York exceeded measurable goals by earning over 100 million media impressions across all channels worldwide in addition to fostering a community of over 18,000 Twitter followers who sent over 9,000 messages to the participants within one month. Earned media generated over 600 comments and more than 13,000 social media shares. We also achieved discrete personal outcomes for the four participants, and the community demand for donation acceptance mechanisms required Underheard in New York to adapt to fit these needs. The campaign also achieved a 98% favourable sentiment rating.
The Underheard in New York Twitter streams began on February 2, 2011 and the participants continue to use their phones to tweet, though no longer associated with Underheard in New York (from March 2, 2011).
We maintained the aggregating Twitter stream and blog and created new content throughout the month-long campaign. The mechanics and engagement principles of the campaign ran according to plan and the community response far exceeded initial expectations. Underheard in New York continues to act as a mediary in its role to receive donations, gifts, etc on the participants’ behalves.
The Situation:
Between Jan. 2009 and Jan. 2010 the total number of unsheltered individuals within New York City rose an estimated 34%.
New York City Rescue Mission provides beds to 100 transient guests every night, but is ultimately fighting a losing battle.
In order to expand and serve an increasing population of homeless New Yorkers, New York City Rescue Mission asked our agency to develop and implement a cost-effective awareness campaign based on earned rather than paid media.
The Strategy:
The communications objective underlying the Underheard in New York campaign is to concentrate awareness on the homelessness problem in New York City and other locations worldwide. The insight motivating the creative strategy is that homeless people are often ignored or avoided by others. Our strategy was to give the Homeless a voice in order to change perception and create comfort with the online community that will continue in the outside world. By giving homeless New Yorkers a prominent platform and the technological tools necessary to tell their stories, Underheard in New York raises awareness of homelessness through 21st century methods and allows others to gain an authentic perspective on the condition of homelessness through on-line interaction. By changing the perception of homelessness, Underheard in New York compels the audience to interact with the homeless differently through on-line engagement, volunteerism or donation.