THE LITTLE CHICKEN NAMED PONG-PONG

ClientPEARSON
Category A09. Corporate Social Responsibility
TitleTHE LITTLE CHICKEN NAMED PONG-PONG
Product/ServicePROJECT LITERACY
Entrant WEBER SHANDWICK London, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation WEBER SHANDWICK London, UNITED KINGDOM
Idea Creation 2 FCB INFERNO London, UNITED KINGDOM
PR WEBER SHANDWICK London, UNITED KINGDOM
Production FCB INFERNO London, UNITED KINGDOM
Additional Company CHLOE FRANSES & CO London, UNITED KINGDOM
Credits
Name Company Position
James Nester Weber Shandwick ECD
Luke Walker Weber Shandwick Creative Director
Helen Bennet Weber Shandwick Managing Director
Josie Whittle Weber Shandwick Associate Director
Olivia McCulla Weber Shandwick Senior Manager
Becky Connor Weber Shandwick Account Director
David Parke Weber Shandwick Senior Associate
Sam Harris Weber Shandwick Associate
Charlie Powell Weber Shandwick Associate
Austin Hamilton FCB Inferno Senior Copywriter
Juile Lagan FCB Inferno Strategy Director
Helena Georghiou FCB Inferno Senior Account Director
Charlie Griffith FCB Inferno Senior Account Manager
Bridie Scriven FCB Inferno Senior Project Manager
Mori Thomson FCB Inferno TV Producer
Alvaro Raminez FCB Inferno Director
Luke Scriven FCB Inferno Illustration
Jessica Giles FCB Inferno Senior Art Director
Chloe Franses Chloe Frances & CO Founder

The Campaign

In a world of written words, life is hard for illiterate adults who develop various coping mechanisms. We aimed to build empathy, and highlight the hidden problem of illiteracy in the US and UK, by sharing a special story. Wanda Steward is a mum from Philadelphia who has spent the last year learning to read and write. When Wanda’s children were young, she was determined to read them a bedtime story; but because she couldn’t read the words on the page, she’d use her imagination to make up a story to accompany the pictures, creating her own character called ‘Pong-Pong’ To mark International Literacy Day, we asked Wanda to reimagine the children’s story ‘Chicken Little’ using just the illustrations as her inspiration. The bedtime story would demonstrate the challenges faced by illiterate parents every day and highlight the importance of speaking out about adult illiteracy to break the cycle.

Creative Execution

We celebrated Wanda’s creativity by publishing one of her stories – ‘The Little Chicken Named Pong-Pong’, her retelling of ‘Chicken Little.’ We enlisted the help of actor Idris Elba to perform a heartfelt ‘bedtime reading’ of Wanda’s new story. On the morning of International Literacy Day, Idris released the reading on his social channels. Interviews with Idris then aired on both sides of the Atlantic. A fourteen-hour sell-in to reach both UK and US media with regional statistics and case studies drove on-the day coverage highlighting illiteracy as a problem in our own backyards. Social support from celebrities including Gillian Anderson, Chelsea Clinton, Neil Gaiman and Forest Whitaker, helped spread the word about Wanda’s story. Influencer support came from YouTubers Niomi Smart and Jim Chapman, as well as leading parenting bloggers. We also collaborated with 60 Second Docs, a social publisher producing documentaries for Facebook, to cover Wanda’s personal story.

Wanda’s story was heard and shared by millions of people on both sides of the Atlantic, with over 530 pieces of coverage including Mashable, HuffPost, Fox News, BBC and Channel 4, a 893 million media reach and 67 million influencer reach. The campaign also incited action. Over 2,000 people have downloaded Wanda’s book from ProjectLiteracy.com, while partner organisations reported an increase in enquiries from adults either wanting support or offering to volunteer. Campaign tracking indicates 41% of those who saw the campaign in the UK and 61% in the US donated money to a literacy charity. Wanda’s story will continue to be widely shared – for example, the book is set to be available via Pearson’s Worldreader partnership, helping thousands of families in India and Jordan learn to read.

We recognised that putting a human face to the problem of illiteracy would help destigmatise it. We looked at case studies of adults working with Project Literacy to tackle their illiteracy, including Wanda, a mum of two from Philadelphia who has spent the last year learning to read and write for the very first time. To demonstrate the bravery and creativity of adults tackling illiteracy, we asked Wanda to help re-write a classic children’s story. We released her book on International Literacy Day, using the day as a key hook to help mobilise interest. Ultimately, we wanted this story to play out in the newsfeeds of our millennial audiences in the UK and US. Our media targets were national and local news, as well as social platforms. We also wanted to enlist the support of celebrity and millennial influencers to ensure targeted mass reach.

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