Social hashtag activism
For winter 2019, WaterAid set themselves the ambitious target of raising £2m to bring clean water to 12,000 people across nine villages in Madagascar. They had identified four audience groups in the UK to raise awareness and understanding with – two 50+ groups and two sub 30 groups. They especially wanted to increase donations from the younger groups, who are passionate about social justice online, but whom WaterAid have struggled to covert. We saw a way to do that.
From climate strikes to inclusivity within the arts, the 2010s have seen huge social change, much of it driven by activism on social media. But somehow access to water and sanitation – which are UN recognised human rights – have failed to capture the imagination and indignation of millennials. So as the 2010s came to a close, we built a campaign around the idea of a ‘Decade of Change’. We focused on nine hashtags that younger people used to the change the decade and established #AccessDenied as the tenth and final movement of the 2010s.
And it worked. From Jeff Goldblum to The Killers (just before they stepped on stage to headline Glastonbury), our big idea got noticed and got supported. Our lead paid execution was a rousing social film voiced by Massie Williams, star of Game of Thrones. It was created to make our target audience feel surprise, empathy, outrage, solidarity and determination. It drove traffic to a dedicated landing page, which funnelled users down to a donation ask. It was supported by a range of digital display adverts that cleverly highlighted how each of these hashtag movements had changed the conversation, minds and even language of a generation.