War Child sends up startup culture with online campaign

What if you could remotely sing a child in a war-affected country to sleep, or reach out and virtually hug them? That’s the idea behind War Child Canada‘s “The Motherhood Campaign” a new initiative that gives Canadian mothers the opportunity to feed, comfort and care for children in warzones – all with just a few […]

What if you could remotely sing a child in a war-affected country to sleep, or reach out and virtually hug them? That’s the idea behind War Child Canada‘s “The Motherhood Campaign” a new initiative that gives Canadian mothers the opportunity to feed, comfort and care for children in warzones – all with just a few simple clicks online.

The campaign, which promotes the fictional NGO “Surrogaid,” centres on a video that spoofs startup and kickstarter culture by depicting a group of engineers who have designed a way for mothers to remotely hug, comfort and feed children in war-torn regions via robotic arms.

Visitors to Surrogaid.org can click through three demos; prepare a casserole, hug a child and lull a child to sleep. But when they actually attempt to connect to a live child in a war-torn region, they receive the campaign’s payoff: “You can’t donate motherhood. But you can donate money”

Developed by John St. (War Child’s creative agency of record for the past 11 years), the campaign was timed to coincide with Mothers Day, and includes television, radio, out-of-home, online ads and social media promotion.

Stephen Jurisic, executive creative director at John St., said the goal of the campaign is to simply start a conversation about what motherhood means and to encourage War Child donations.

“It’s about talking to moms about motherhood and how important it is to these people in those countries. It’s not another ‘flies in the eyes make you feel bad’ kind of charity position. I think the people that would gravitate to it are the people who are aware and progressive.”

John St. created the “Surrogaid” logo, name and design, and worked in collaboration with digital design and development agency Jam3 on the website and video.
The video began airing on Surrogaid.org and on YouTube Wednesday, and next week wild postings inspired by tech magazines such as Wired will be rolled out. The posters – “Hug a child in Uganda, from halfway around the world,” “Spoon-feed a child in Sudan with just a few simple clicks,” and “Rock a cradle in Afghanistan, from the comfort of your couch” – all drive potential donors to the website.

The “Motherhood Campaign from War Child” will run for four weeks.

Founded in 1999, War Child is an internationally recognized charity that works with war-affected communities to help children through access to education, opportunity and justice.

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