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Today’s guest post is by Geoff Livingston

Given who reads Spin Sucks I decided to open the kimono and show the social strategy behind the #hungertohope campaign today for World Food Day, an ad hoc strategy that was built to address a critical weakness.

For a variety of time and legal reasons, we were not able to put a name and a story behind some of these beautiful photos of children who benefit from the Hunger to Hope effort.

We’ve all been there, and I’m not complaining.

Every seasoned marketer faces campaigns that don’t achieve text book ideals.

It’s still a powerful story. Fundraising to help children today, on World Food Day, is a great honor.

Razoo and Yum Brands! agreed to work together with the World Food Programme in late August, so this campaign came together very quickly.

As the lead social strategist in this situation, it’s my job to deploy the very best campaign possible. So here’s how we are fighting World Hunger today with no names. I hope you’ll join us in the #hungertohope campaign and take small acts that collectively will make a big statement.

Relying on the Photos Themselves

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We have lots of great statistics to tell the story, as well as Christina Aguilera’s general appeal, but when it comes to donations you need emotion. Something has to appeal to the donor to make them feel compelled to care enough to take financial action. That’s why you want stories.

We may not have been able to use beneficiary stories or names — the most effective way to fundraise using social media — but we do have six pictures.

These pictures show the face of the beneficiary, children throughout the world who can go to school on a full stomach thanks to kind people donating to the World Food Programme.

Wherever possible on our various media assets, we are showing the face of hope, the end result of fighting hunger. These photos were published on Instagram, and appeals are being sent out across Razoo, Yum!, WorldHungerRelief and my personal account throughout the day.

Ads Instead of Coverage

John Haydon conducted this interview

When the campaign was first architected, I had hoped for 20+ blog stories. A few friends and caring people such as Gini Dietrich, Beth Kanter, John Haydon, Shonali Burke, Allyson Kapin and others (which had not been published at the time of release) have come through.

But generally, no stories = no coverage. So instead we are showing the faces of the campaign through advertising in an attempt to flank social media sources and directly reach readers.

Today, the Hunger to Hope campaign is featured on Mashable, with a global takeover of the front page. We also have a flight on the BlogHer network, as well as a Wildfire campaign on Facebook.

Every single ad features the faces of these six children as depicted in the photos.

The Tweet Bomb

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One of my favorite tactics I’ve always wanted to deploy is the tweet bomb.

This morning, more than 150 bloggers banned together to kick World Food Day off with a tweet or three. A story may be too much, but a tweet is certainly doable. Collectively, we made a huge statement.

While the bomb may be over, the day is not done. If you want to Tweet for #hungertohope, grab a tweet here and drop one for these beautiful children!

Email and Conclusion

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In addition to the promotions, we reached out to our core Razoo and personal networks and directly asked for help today. Certainly, less sexy than the above tactics, but probably more powerful to generate dollars.

Why show you this campaign with such naked transparency?

If spin sucks, so does complaining about less than perfect situations. That’s everyday life. We all have jobs to do, and opportunities to succeed or fail no matter what cards are given to us.

To me, that’s professionalism.

When it’s a campaign like this, when children’s lives are on the line, much less their future, I feel like I owe it all parties involved to throw every good punch I can.

What do you think?

Geoff Livingston is an author, public speaker, and strategist who helps companies and nonprofits develop outstanding marketing programs. He brings people together, virtually and physically for business and change. He also co-authored Marketing in the Round with our own Gini Dietrich. You can follow him on Twitter and find him on LinkedIn.


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