UNICEF's 'badass do-gooder' refresh off to strong start

The new campaign is helping the organization show off its true colors around the world.

UNICEF is already seeing initial success with its new campaign, which was launched as part of Chief Marketing Officer Shelley Diamond’s vision to give the humanitarian organization a much-needed refresh. 

This summer, Diamond told Campaign US that UNICEF has been helping and saving children and families  around the world for more than 70 years, yet the group’s name is generally associated with its orange trick-or-treat donation collection boxes from the 1950s. Her objective is to highlight UNICEF’s "badass do-goodery," like how the organization’s midwives fly into extremely dangerous parts of Africa to help deliver babies or how team members  are turning plastic into bricks for schoolhouses in the Côte D'ivoire. And with its "Won’t Stop" campaign, created by The Community, the aid group is doing just that.

The campaign, which has been translated into the six official UN languages, is being sen all over the world. Diamond said it’s the first time UNICEF has shown up in this way as a global brand, all through the voices of its "badass do-gooders."

One way the initiative has been building buzz is through actress Téa Leoni, who has an authentic connection to the organization because her grandmother started the U.S. fund for UNICEF. "If you go in our hallway, there’s a huge oil painting of her grandma," said Diamond. 

Since the campaign launch, UNICEF has served 27 million impressions in Chicago, Los Angeles and second-tier markets (Boston, New York, Dallas and Houston). The organization has been relying on video, which has been working, with the campaign seeing an 88 percent video completion rate on social. 

UNICEF is also seeing low bounce rates on the campaign landing page (below 5 percent) and people are staying on the page longer and engaging with the content (two minutes on average, but many are staying for as much as six minutes).

The stories that were - and still are being - gathered for the campaign all came from UNICEF employees, which has been "igniting passion internally," said Diamond.

As for its media plan, Diamond said UNICEF needs to see a two or three times return on every dollar it spends in order to keep getting funding from the board. In addition to running ads on Facebook, Instagram and YouTube, the organization is leaning into news channels on addressable TV.

When Diamond first joined UNICEF,  she went to the board members to tell them they needed to reassess their current go-to-market strategy, which took guts. 

"Launching a brand campaign is not for the faint of heart or the impatient. I know we’re a brave organization, but there’s a lot of concern on getting a return for every dollar we spend, so we’re spending responsibly." said Diamond. 

She added: "We’re hoping these stories will start showing resonance. You don’t reshape a brand overnight. It will take a  little time. The board has been unbelievable, and we hope they continue to be committed to the campaign."

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