Photo Richard Wainwright ©
In 2013 I got an exciting brief from Plan who were in the midst of creating a new funding package as an alternative to child sponsorship, which would allow the public to become direct supporters of child rights. The demographic focus was well educated, socially conscious, middle aged supporters, and after a handful of workshops we set out on making cinematic short films to be activated by social media. The campaign took us around the world, and despite the final stop in Pakistan being cancelled, I'm proud of the films we produced - a few under very difficult conditions. With two films still yet to launch, we've had both Hennock's and Christine's story play in film festivals in Melbourne and Sydney. I also designed a campaign site to house the videos.
After the Pakistan leg of the Child Rights trip was cancelled a few days out, the final education-themed story appeared lost. But with two Plan-sponsored Pakistani girls heading to Melbourne in September, there was still a unique opportunity to capture a narrative to continue the social media roll out. It was an extremely tight turn around, but we managed to get a story together and shoot in a Footscray primary school over a weekend. Hats off to all the girls involved who despite no previous acting experience gave gripping performances.
In 2012, Plan rapidly assembled an emergency campaign to help raise funds for an escalating food crisis in West Africa, with a sectarian conflict causing thousands of refugees from Mali to cross into Niger - the second poorest nation on the UN development index. French chef Manu Fieldel graciously offered his services as the face of the tour, and proved the perfect demographic hook for Australian mothers who were becoming increasing addicted to his career in reality TV. The trip was a challenging one, we toured refugee camps, malnutrition centres and sponsored schools, meeting people living in incredibly difficult circumstances in an unforgiving landscape. On my return I quickly went to work on the diary style video content, and designed a campaign hub to hold the videos, which with a little bit of convincing, my ex-employer Visual Jazz kindly agreed to build a for free. The campaign was picked up by a variety of blogs and Manu spruiked it all over the channel 7 network, thankfully leading to an end result in donations that greatly exceeded all initial targets.
After the 2012 trip to Niger with Manu, we also visited Cameroon to look specifically at the issue of child marriage. It was a difficult trip on a number of levels - an extremely sensitive topic to cover, and some unavoidable logistical issues left us with just an afternoon to shoot the main story. I was very humbled by the girls that came forward to bravely share their stories in the time we were there.
In 2011, I was still in the process of developing relationships at Plan, and was determined to get the full team to really understand the opportunities of good content marketing. Perhaps it was an ulterior motive to get more work, but it was also something I felt like I needed to do for myself, to really analyse what type of content we should be aiming for. So I volunteered to present a bit of a content marketing overview to their marketing, fundraising and communication divisions, which went through what the different techniques were, what works, and a few case studies, including (of course) the Invisible Children Kony campaign.
2011 marked my first official "content collection" trip with Plan as we travelled with a heaped itinerary through Laos and Cambodia on the hunt for a variety of stories. It was a huge learning experience (including the fact I was still learning the basics of shooting and editing video), but the addictive thrill of this line of work had certainly hooked me in. Lily's story (below left) was used to launch a new campaign around child sponsorship which launched through TV and a digital roll out plan.
All projects wouldn't have been possible without the team from Plan including Charlotte Strong (Senior Communications Advisor Plan Australia) Sinead Blessing (Content & Communications Officer Plan Australia) and David Cook (formerly the media officer).
Find out more about Plan at www.plan.org.au