UNICEF urgently needed to raise public awareness, increase understanding on the importance of investing in early child development and gain government support to give the future children of Thailand the best start.
UNICEF Thailand firmly believes in the importance of early childhood development and requiring parents’ involvement optimum development. But with empirical research findings pointing to Thai children falling below target for optimum early child development, especially those between 0-6 years, public awareness needed to be raised. There is an urgency to increase understanding on the importance of investing in early child development to give the future children of Thailand the best start. It has become a national agenda.
In collaboration with its corporate partners, UNICEF Thailand needed to drive emotional connection to promote its Best Start Campaign while facing an uphill battle of urging the Thai Government to increase investment in early childhood development program for the country.
Thai families place high value on maintaining family connections but as parents spend more time working to better their lives and career, parents and children end up having less time together. Things and toys have become a substitute.
In particular, only 36% of Thai fathers spend time with their children. The other 74% of Thai fathers are largely influenced by paternalistic attitudes. As the main provider of the family, they work a lot and do not participate adequately in parenting. They are less involved in direct childcare and do not play with their kids, leaving the responsibility of raising their children to the mothers. It is not surprising that most Thai fathers do not have a very close relationship with their children, who craves for their involvement.
People needed the human inspiration to realise how fathers play an important role in a child's development from birth through adulthood. How can UNICEF nudge, inspire and get Thai fathers to pledge on the importance of their role in their children’s development?
Engaging them with a “stab-in-the heart” connection surrounding the theme of “The Best Toy” became central to the Best Start Campaign.
Starcom MediaVest Group designed a candid-camera emotionally-charged moment meant to disrupt an otherwise a normal, family toy-shopping activity by juxtaposing a giant toy box in a toy-shop. This giant box was placed in a corner of the store, allowing the father to pose as a motionless toy figurine in the box, while unsuspecting children and their mothers walked in to select any toy they wanted from the shop – only to find their father, who was disguised as a toy, boxed up in the “Best Toy in the World” toy box. Imagine the look on their children’s faces!
With the real footage captured real-time from the candid camera, the agency then re-edited the content and created a viral clip on social media to narrate and emphasise the role of a father as the best toy in the world. To generate mass awareness, the agency drove reach with integrated multi-screen platform and programmatic buying to ensure precise audience targeting to parents. They were then directed to www.beststartthailand.com and Best Start Facebook Page for further engagement as UNICEF encouraged them to support the programme by signing a pledge to support the campaign. All pledges (name lists and emails) were collected and submitted to Thai government on behalf of UNICEF Thailand.
To create further hype, the agency mobilised the Best Toy in the World Box at UNICEFS’s press release event to engage with media journalists and reporters. This was further activated by mobilising a tour surrounding children-parent activity venues such as Kidzania, Children Museum and Bangkok Ocean world.
Check out the campaign video here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FM3yfbqnla0
- >500,000 views and more than 5,000 shares of Best Toy viral clip within one month after launch
- Achieved 5,453 pledges (+9% higher than target).
- Estimated >100% ROI as viral clip received earned media from influential news anchors promoting and sharing the campaign as well as countless reviews from >10 websites and major parent portals, with free TV interviews
- Most importantly, the Thai government has recently approved of the programme and has an action plan in place to subsidize and invest in early child development in Thailand.