Category B08. Events & Stunts
Entrant McCANN Frankfurt, GERMANY
Idea Creation McCANN Frankfurt, GERMANY
Idea Creation 2 MRM//McCANN Frankfurt, GERMANY
Media Placement McCANN Frankfurt, GERMANY
Media Placement 2 MRM//McCANN Frankfurt, GERMANY
Production MRM//McCANN Frankfurt, GERMANY
Name Company Position
Sebastian Hardieck McCANN Worldgroup Germany Chief Creative Officer
Martin Biela MRM//McCANN Executive Creative Director
Thomas Dempewolf MRM//McCANN Group Creative Director
Thomas Auerswald McCANN Worldgroup Germany Creative Director
Olaf Haarsma MRM//McCANN Creative Director
Sandra Schaus MRM//McCANN Art Director
Jan-David Winter MRM//McCANN Apprentice Creative
Jan Portz MRM//McCANN Creative Director
Danijel Beljan MRM//McCANN Creative Technologist
Thomas Kochwasser MRM//McCANN Senior Social Media Strategist
Katharina Potgieter MRM//McCANN Social Media Manager
Jerome Cholet McCANN Worldgroup Germany PR & Communications Director
Steffen Pferr McCANN Worldgroup Germany Event Manager
Farina Bubert MRM//McCANN Account Manager
Timo Hormel McCANN Worldgroup Germany Project Manager
Rebecca Schuster McCANN Worldgroup Germany Trainee PR & Communications
Leonie Schliesske McCANN Worldgroup Germany Trainee PR & Communications
Uwe Pieper McCANN Worldgroup Germany Booth Builder
Dirk Doerrhoefer McCANN Worldgroup Germany Booth Builder
Vincent Brod Vincent Brod Photography Photographer
Daniel Seideneder dropout-films Director
Wolf-Tassilo Sack dropout-films Executive Producer
Justin Peach dropout-films DOP Lighting Cameraman
Maren Rudolph dropout-films DOP Lighting Cameraman
Anika Auerswald dropout-films Editor
Michelle Meier dropout-films Editor

The Campaign

The Insight: Young people are interested in sneakers and sports. So before starting this year’s “Lauf für mehr Zeit” (Walk for Life) charity run in Germany, the AIDS foundation came up with the idea of opening up a shoe store in one of Europe’s biggest malls. But this store never sold a single shoe. Instead it presented shoes which were old and worn. Each shoe told a story about people with a personal connection to AIDS or HIV. Some are infected, some are supporters, some are deceased. This is how it works: Every shoe was connected with its owner’s story, which could be accessed via the visitor’s mobile phone. The Walk for Life website brought all the stories together. Both store and website combined into a powerful storytelling medium that made people engage with an uncomfortable topic and motivated them to participate in the “Lauf für mehr Zeit”.


To incite curiosity, we sent out mysterious shoeboxes, including one worn shoe, as invitation to more than 100 journalists and influencers one month before the opening. We initiated speculations by labeling the store but covering it completely in black. And in a partnership with the biggest national tabloid newspaper we created a keen interest to get invited. On the opening day, more than 500 celebrities, journalists, influencers and bloggers came. In direct talk with the people displayed in the exhibition, flanked by online information material and a simple but profound press kit, journalists and influencers were convinced to report. After the opening, a series of events followed, such as a panel discussion, a concert, a Yogacourse and continuous interviews with the media. In the end, we convinced visitors to donate, participate in the charityrun and even carry some exhibited shoes on the charityrun and invited the media to report again.

All in all, over 4.507 runners joined the charity-run between the ages of 16-49 – a staggering 130% increase of athletes registered within 12 days since we opened up the “Walk for Life” pop-up store. A total of 122.000 EUR of donations was raised during the event. On Social Media, we achieved 1.8 million impressions. With the help of seven influencers over 687.000 people watched Instagram stories with “Walk for Life” content. Moreover, influential newspapers and magazines featured the project online, which led to a total of 3.6 million online impressions. In total, an audience of 1.2 million was reached via print. Germany’s leading daily newspapers, such as BILD, even dedicated an entire page to the “Walk for Life” pop-up store on the day of its opening. Furthermore, two major German TV channels, ZDF and RTL, broadcasted a nationwide report about the project. Counting all online and offline impressions we reached an audience of 3 million. The overall tone was overwhelmingly positive. All media gave a differentiated view on the topic of HIV and AIDS. The media coverage mitigated public misinformation. In general, the atmosphere and method for how visitors engaged with the topic, was astonishing. The stories behind the exhibited shoes touched all store visitors emotionally and made them realize that it is now possible to live a normal life with HIV and AIDS, though the further spread of infection is still a vital issue. Finally, “Walk for Life” significantly encouraged millions of people to get to know their HIV-status.

The Situation

With awareness decreasing of HIV and AIDS, the risk is that one of human history most significant causes of illness will continue to spread in the 21st century. But you won’t raise awareness using warning sings like old-fashioned shock campaigns. Particularly with younger generations, we can capture their mobile attention and imaginations by telling stories that put them directly into the shoes of those affected by HIV. This PR is exactly what our “Walk for Life” PR campaign achieved.

The Strategy

Beforehand, a qualitative analysis was executed. Young people, especially men, are at highest risk of contracting HIV and AIDS, so they were our main target group. We focused on their favorite activities: sports and shopping. To create attention, we chose mass and social media, as they are the target group’s main source of information and engagement. As Frankfurt hosts several sport events like the IRONMAN and countless charity runs that attract thousands of professional and hobby runners, it is the right place to underline the special purpose of the “Walk for Life” charity run and to differentiate it from other events. PR planning involved two steps. First, we created attention by stirring speculations about a mysterious new shoe store. Second, when attention was high and people and media were clustered in our store, we revealed our main objective and created a series of events.