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Visibility of key message

War Child ambassador Marco Borsato visiting War Child programs in LebanonWar Child actively approaches the media, organises public events, and has a compelling goodwill ambassador, Dutch singer Marco Borsato, who inspiringly and passionately spreads War Child’s message. During 2012, we appeared in at least 2,409 online and offline publications. In general, the tone of voice was neutral. More than one-third had a more explicitly positive tone; this is a larger part than usual. Only a small percentage was negative. Traditionally, the majority of articles and broadcasts in media are based on the numerous actions organized by companies and individuals to raise money for War Child.


Through various media activities attention was generated for the impact of the armed conflict on Syrian children and War Child’s programmatic response to the crises:

  • War Child’s goodwill ambassador Marco Borsato’s visit to Lebanon generated various TV appearances, such as on Nieuwsuur, Het 8 uur Journaal, Knevel & Van den Brink, Het Jeugdjournaal and Met Het Oog op Morgen. The attention on radio and TV reached 2,784,000 people. Not to mention the online exposure on national news sites.
  • Publication of an opinion article on Syria by War Child in 7 regional newspapers reached 1,415,000 people throughout the country.
  • We generated a lot of media publicity for ‘538 for War Child’. The total reach of the 198 publications on the internet, newspapers, radio and TV is 12,201,398 people.

Since the conflict in Syria remained in the news headlines, the visit of Marco Borsato to the War Child programme in Lebanon was very successful in generating media attention. This was possible because the field office in Lebanon was able to set up a rapid intervention in a quick and effective way to respond to the needs of Syrian refugee children in northern Lebanon. However, War Child will always also try to generate media attention for those conflicts that do not or no longer appear in the news. The impact of war on children and young people still continues in those areas. Because a war is not over once the cameras have gone.

Lessons learned

Unfortunately, War Child’s report on the alarming situation of children in eastern DR Congo, published in October, did not receive the media attention that was hoped for. Substantial investment in an up-to-date network of journalists is needed to make media work more effective. Also new investments are required in new spokespeople. This will be on the agenda in 2013.

Power of Friendship

War Child’s visibility targets were reached by rolling out the corporate campaign ‘The Power of Friendship’. The campaign started in August 2011 and reached a peak in TV visibility in January 2012, and outdoor visibility during the rest of the year. In total we reached 2,000,000 people and collected 5,000 new social media leads.

The campaign was evaluated in 2012. The number of people reached was a lot higher than planned because of more sponsored advertisement space in media. The second objective of the campaign was to increase people’s connectedness and sense of being close to War Child. The percentage of our constituency that prefers or loves War Child indeed rose. However, this is the result of all communications not only this campaign.


Lessons learned

To make the online, viral part of the campaign more successful, higher online visibility is a prerequisite. Secondly it’s important to keep participation simple. In this campaign concept, participants had to go through several steps before having their video uploaded, which turned out to be too much hassle.


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