Case Study: Børns Vilkår Empty Chairs

In the spotlight:

Børns Vilkår Empty Chairs

2022 Double Gold & Bronze Effie Winner

Effie is about awarding ideas that work, educating about effective marketing and showcasing the best work to enhance learning in our industry.

Børns Vilkår Empty Chairs

Best of Europe: Positive Change (Gold Effie)
Best of Europe: Small Budget (Gold Effie)
Positive Change Europe: Social Good - Non-Profit (Bronze Effie)

Børns Vilkår

Uncle Grey

Børns Vilkår’s “skolens tomme stole” report shows 75.000 children in Denmark miss school because of mental health issues. Addressing the problem, 500 empty chairs were placed in front of the Danish parliament to create awareness and change regarding mental health issues among children.

To engage with the target group, the client-agency duo were faced with two main challenges: Uniting three segments (parents, professionals, politicians) and above all a zero media budget.

#1 Unite the target groups:

Reaching out and engaging with over half of the Danish population with no media budget is a difficult task. Moreover, the target audience consists of three very different segments, with different interests.

Firstly, they knew it was necessary to find something they all had in common, a shared belief or a common ground, in order to successfully unite them. Secondly, we needed to create a strong but broad statement that was powerful enough to create engagement among all three categories.

#2 Zero media budget

In 2018, online media marketing constituted 58% of the total advertising market with a turnover of 8 billion , according to an analysis made by the Danish competition and consumer authority. With a zero media budget, they couldn’t compete with these numbers and had to create something that would truly stand out - relying on earned media was needed.

The task was to create something that was so powerful and made so much noise, that it couldn’t be overlooked by the media. They needed to nudge the press into covering the story.

borns vilkar 2

The story reached 2,7 million Danes within 24 hours and generated an estimated media value of +2.000.000 DKK – with zero media investment.

The Empty Chairs significantly outperformed each of its four objectives:

1. Reach 33% of 18-65 year olds.
Within the first 24 hours the earned media value generated with The Empty Chairs was estimated to be DKK +2.000.000 and reached 65% of the Danish population (18-65 year olds) with no media budget.

2. Become the most talked about news of the day.
The activation owned the media news-circle and was featured throughout the day on the biggest news broadcasts. Furthermore, both Politiken and Berlingske had the story on their front page and all major Danish news outlets reported the story on their websites and social channels.

3. Hijack the conversation at the opening of the Danish Parliament.
The Empty Chairs became the main subject at the opening of the Danish Parliament. SF’s partiformand (Party chairman), Pia Olsen Dyhr, even rewrote her speech to address Børns Vilkår and the empty chairs in front of the building.

4. Get the issue on the political agenda.
The opening debate is the biggest debate of the year, often referred to as a “marathon debate”, lasting up to 14 hours. The debate has a strict schedule; each party chairman has 10 minutes to express the key issues, they want to get on the agenda for the upcoming year. Pia Olsen Dyhr spent more than half of her time expressing the importance of Børns Vilkårs campaign, reflecting upon the impact the stunt had as a political statement. The speech became the most used by news media to show the opening of the parliament.

The campaign significantly outperformed all of their objectives and set a high standard for what can be achieved, when creativity and contextual relevancy is combined.

WHY A DOUBLE GOLD EFFIE? Here's what the jurors said.

"Bold, brave activation ADN "media strategy". Putting it all on the line in one day! Creating massive impact out of very little budget. Fantastic case!"

"The resolve to drive change without media and yet maintaining an incredibly stretching objective for a worthwhile cause. Ultimately, it was the tight, focussed strategy that lead you to the creative idea, which you then took further by setting it at the right time and on the doorsteps of parliament."

"Strong and emotional insight. Solid media rationale. An interesting solution that stirred emotions and interest and (naturally) great results."

"The creative idea that would drive significant media engagement and the decision to position the demonstration in front the audience (government) who wouldn't be able not to act."