Non-profit organization Amnesty International became a topic of conversation in a unique way.
While alarm sirens were being tested across Switzerland, Amnesty International, in a media partnership with Radio 24, also broadcast live sounds of war from Yemen together with an appeal for donations. At the same time, promotional teams transmitted the broadcast to gather donations as well as signatures against the delivery of weapons.
With this surprising and thought-provoking initiative, Amnesty International brought the war in Yemen back into the Swiss consciousness and turned the annual siren test into a publicly audible monument that remains in the listener’s mind.
Since March 25, 2015, homes, schools, and hospitals in Yemen are being destroyed without warning during air attacks. At the same time, despite 200 years of peace, alarm sirens in Switzerland are tested every year to see whether they still work. Is that not absurd?
Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)
To raise awareness among potential donors and to retain existing ones, we turned the siren test into an emergency. While alarm sirens were being tested across Switzerland, live sounds of war from Yemen were also being broadcast on Radio 24 and at promotional stands. The transmission ended with a special broadcast on the topic, including an appeal for donations to support the work of Amnesty International in protecting the civil population in Yemen.
Describe the PR strategy (30% of vote)
Therefore, a creative strategy was developed. The Swiss siren test, an event with a high level of national attention, would be used to put abuses in Yemen on center stage.
The aim was to destroy the gap between peaceful Switzerland and the brutal reality in Yemen. The population was to get a wake-up call via the audible experience of war. This gave rise to the idea of cooperating with Radio 24 and broadcasting the sounds of war simultaneously to the siren test.
Describe the PR execution (20% of vote)
Each year, the siren test takes place on the first Wednesday in February. Amnesty International wanted to use precisely this topical, nationwide occurrence to call attention to the “forgotten war” in Yemen. The initiative took place on February 6, 2019 at exactly 1:30 p.m. and lasted 2 minutes and 15 seconds, like every year. The message reached a national audience, as people in Switzerland are always requested to turn on their radios during a siren test.
List the results (30% of vote)
The results of this radio-driven experience:
The number of listeners rose by more than 400 percent that day, making it the largest Swiss radio audience ever.
Donations for Amnesty International increased by over 200 percent during the two-week campaign period.
In total, over 1.2 million Swiss Francs were raised to support the population in Yemen.
In addition to that, dialogue teams collected over 100,000 signatures to stop arms exports.
Over half of the Swiss population was reached with this radio-driven campaign.
Thus, Amnesty International was able to turn the annual war siren test into an acoustic memorial that will resonate for a long time.