[Agency: Havas PR Prague]

Challenge: The number of elderly people in the Czech Republic is rising fast. With the opportunities brought by the fall of communism, young people very suddenly shifted their priorities from family to themselves. These days, elderly people tend to feel written off by the younger population and hopeless to live a full life in today’s world. We aimed to encourage young people to show them respect through an integrated media campaign featuring a communication style typical for them. Through our pro bono campaign, we also wanted to increase awareness and funds for the NGO Sue Ryder, which provides a wide range of humanitarian services to older people in the Czech Republic and globally.

Actions: The campaign’s launch relied on a release, Facebook page, billboards of troubled seniors, and a video in the Prague subway of a young, well-known actress disguised as an elderly person. For the second phase, we selected some of the harsher comments from online discussions and spray-painted them as graffiti slogans on the billboards, then distributed those images to the media. Later, we released a second video to the media revealing the true identity of our actress, another where she pulls the “old” skin off her face and confesses how it feels to be old, if only for a moment.

Results: We garnered more than 40 stories in top Czech print and broadcast media, including front pages of nationwide dailies and homepages of the most-visited online news portals; the number of comments in online discussion forums was above average. Media publicity of Sue Ryder increased 10 times during the campaign; the NGO saw 700 new Facebook fans, 20,000 microsite visitors and 113,000 video views. Most important, our award-winning campaign led to a 5 percent increase in number of donors and threefold increase in number of volunteers.