Category A06. Not-for-profit / Charity / Government
Idea Creation McCANN RIGA Riga, LATVIA
Name Company Position
Valters Jonāts McCANN Riga Executive Creative Director
Anete Ķestere McCANN Riga Creative Director
Oskars Lībers White Label Strategist
Tatjana Baranovska White Label Strategy Director
Gatis Zēbergs McCANN Riga Head of Art
Evija Banga McCANN Riga Designer
Linda Justa McCANN Riga Designer
Marts Pujāts McCANN Riga Copywriter
Alise Baumane McCANN Riga Senior Account Manager

Why is this work relevant for Direct?

The campaign was based on an ingenious way of targeting an audience typically almost impossible to reach - fake news and misinformation believers. Insights on why fake news spread like wildfire were used to reach and educate the target audience.


Misinformation and fake news are growing problems in the age of social media. A 2020 Latvian study revealed that the number of people feel they can recognize false information is only 23%. The percentage had declined by 17% since the previous study in 2017. The Covid-19 crisis had made the situation even worse. Our objective was reaching people with lower media literacy and educating them. It has traditionally been a pitfall of similar campaigns since it presents a set of unique challenges: 1) the audience consumes traditional media channels at a low rate; 2) the audience mistrusts the government and “official” communication - they would not believe a message for the Ministry of Culture; 3) there are no viable criteria for precise audience targeting - everyone can fall for misinformation, even journalists.

Describe the creative idea (30% of vote)

Fight fire with fire! The idea was to create a campaign that uses the best weapons of fake news - emotional, sensational, or shocking articles. These articles would be indistinguishable from those our audience is used to clicking, and would serve as a bait to lure them into being schooled on media literacy. The idea was to demonstrate to them how easy it is to be fooled and explain how they can prevent it from happening. A conscious decision was made not to use any symbols or mentions of the client - Ministry of Culture of the Republic of Latvia - since our audience typically does not believe nor respect government organisations. The Ministry would appear in the “reveal phase” and announce that they were behind it and present the results. This would also give them an opportunity to talk about the problem and turn more attention to it.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

The initial demographic profile of the audience was set from a previously done research - middle-aged men, below-average income, living mostly in the countryside. However, an incident at the time of developing the campaign made us think of a much wider audience - a popular Latvian journalist and TV personality shared a fake news story on his social media, clearly demonstrating that everyone can fall prey to disinformation and misinformation. Therefore, a decision was made to develop a mechanism that tests the media literacy of people and educates those who haven't passed our test. By doing this, we were able to address the audience by parameters no digital targeting tool would allow and talk to those who need educating the most.

Describe the execution (20% of vote)

1) Fake news ads were placed and promoted on Facebook and Google. 2) When people clicked on the fake news ads, they were brought to the campaign web site vizulitis.lv (ENG: www.lil'bait.lv ) which said that they had fallen for a false news ad and media literacy tips were explained. 3) People who fell for our bait were retargeted with another set of fake news ads. If they clicked on these ads they were told that they have fallen twice for the same trick and media literacy tips were again explained. 4) A possibility to stop seeing the ads was available if people pledged to follow the 5 media literacy steps. 5) After taking the pledge, banners reminding the media literacy tips followed them everywhere online. 6)Reveal: Ministry of Culture announced that they were the ones behind the campaign which brought the discussion to TV and radio.

List the results (30% of vote)

The campaign was very effective and achieved amazing results despite a modest media budget and limited timeframe of one month. - Total exposures: 6 008 021 on Facebook and Google combined (there are 1 657 770 internet users in Latvia) - Unique users: 355 604 on Facebook (22% of LV internet users), 539 417 on Google (33% of LV internet users) - Clicks: 84 853 on Facebook, 44 075 on Google - Cost per click: 0,02€ on Facebook (20 times cheaper than benchmark), 0,03€ on Google (6.5 times cheaper than benchmark) - Efficiency: it cost only 1€ to reach 350 people