Task:The „Real Pearl Foundation” operates a Basic Art Education Institute for underprivileged children in a small village, called Berettyóújfalu, one of the most disadvantaged micro-regions of Hungary. Most of the kids are part of the Roma minority of Hungary. In March, 2012 a pioneering project was launched: based on the motifs created by the students in the art classes, the families (mothers and grand-mothers) were involved in the realization of the different artworks (i.e.: bags, pillows, etc.) with embroidery or patch-work technique. The created products could be bought on the Foundation’s website.
The project also provided an opportunity for the families to work. Most of the families have been unemployed for as long as two successive generations, with no hope of getting a job. The children did not have the opportunity to see working adults in their close neighborhood. The project offered the possibility for the families to set an example of work to their children.
Therefore it was crucial that the project results were expressed in actual funds, since that amount was raised for the families, meaning they received money for their work. Not only because they are in need, but also to show to the children the value of work.
Objective of the PR project: to support the sale of the hand-made products and make the Foundation better known.
- The target audience is small, niche and high-profile from a cultural perspective and difficult to reach through mainstream media as they only respond to requests from their own network.
- The products themselves would not be easy to sell due to their execution done by unexperienced hands and due to certain resistance among prospective buyers against products made by poor people
- No such project or initiative has been known in Hungary yet
- Donating does not have deep traditions in Hungary, due to the overall state of society and the economy of the country.
- No budget was available at all (even the agency worked pro-bono)
- Strategy: We decided to create an emotionally engaging and viral campaign, involving well-known and credible thought leaders (actors, writers, serious media personalities) to reach the target audience.
- Creative idea: To reach our high-profile, ”intellectual” target audience, we had to come up with something inspiring and engaging for them. The motifs created by the children and the artwork realized by the parents and sisters reflect a unique, dreamlike visual world. Also the fact that the families started to work was a dreamlike situation, given the fact that they have been unemployed for generations.
- Project theme: We named our project Szuno (meaning dream in Roma language). In the communication we did not focus on the actual products (as their value was not so much physical, but more spiritual), but the beautiful dreams that they stand for. The motifs designed by the Roma children reflected a very colorful, naive and heart-breaking view of their world.
- Tactics: Based on the idea of „Dreams” we involved famous writers and public figures. We asked each of them to choose a motif they liked the most and find inspiration to write a fairy tale based on it. The fairy tale was published together with the motif and the same motif was also realized on art work. The buyer of the artwork therefore would receive not only a bag or a pillowcase with embroidery, but also a unique dream, a fairy tale along with it.
- The viral campaign: The contributing writers posted their fairy tales on their Facebook profiles, on the Foundation’s Facebook profile and in media as well. The tales have been shared by fans and the authors as well, so the Results was an authentic, spontaneous and viral campaign. Some of the contributors were not writers, so it generated news that they also participated in the project and created fiction. During the campaign we have received fairy tales from 14 contributors, and the project is still on-going. Our authors so far: Gergely Peterfy (writer, editor), Bori Peterfy (singer, actress), Orsolya Karafiath (poet, translator, writer), Gabi Both (writer), Zsuzsa Tamas (poet, writer, editor), Kriszta D. Toth (journalist, editor, TV presenter), Hinda Vichi (writer, poet), Peter Nyulasz (writer, poet), Gergo Suveges (TV presenter, journalist, editor), Janos Lackfi (poet, writer, editor), Petra Finy (writer, poet, copy writer), Csaba Azurak (TV presenter, editor), Janos Galvolgyi (actor), Andras Kepes (journalist, TV show creator.)
- PR tools: A unique element of the campaign is that the authors help the campaign in their own ways: for example Kriszta D. Toth had a very popular TV show, called DTK Show, and she has made a one minute introduction spot about the campaign. Peter Nyulasz has a literature website for children, called egyszervolt.hu („once-upon-a- time”.) He has created a page on the site for all the Real Pearl tales. During the campaign, we have used a variety of PR tools as well. We have published a press release about the webshop opening and one of the tales has also been published in one of the most popular female weekly magazines.
Results:The sold items are already over 1.300 pieces and it is still growing. During the last year the foundation raised 4 million HUF (equivalent of approx. 20.000 USD) from the sales of products and became self-supporting! We were able to introduce the products into off-line shops in museums. The number of the Facebook page’s fans has increased with 300% since the start of the project in March, 2012.
Over 100 online media appearances in 1.5 years, since March 2012 (start of the project) vs. 40 during the two previous years (2010-2012). 20 electronic media appearances (including TV shows) since the start of the project vs. 2 TV and 4 radio appearances between 20101-2012. Although increased in number, media appearances were all in high profile, relevant media. The Foundation was selected to become the beneficiary of the „Christmas Fundraising line 2013” of Hungary’s