Responses by Domenique Raso, copywriter, BBDO Toronto
Background: Right To Play changes the lives of children around the world, but because its name has the word play in it, people assume its work is trivial. However, through play, the organization is saving children’s lives by teaching them about gender equality, disease prevention, and reading and writing. This knowledge empowers children to overcome becoming child brides, laborers or soldiers.
Reasoning: When thinking about the injustices these children endured, we realized that children are the most vulnerable group of people. This sparked The Child Uprising campaign, which showcases how Right To Play empowers children to rise above their oppression. Slam poetry was a natural way to bring this idea to life because it felt playful enough to evoke the spirit of Right to Play’s, yet assertive enough to illustrate what the organization does.
Challenges: Trying to incorporate the breadth of issues that Right To Play addresses. We had to find a creative hook that captured the scale of what it does, while still elevating the role of play. And most importantly, it had to be an empowering message that would stand out in a sea of non-profit advertising, and make people care enough to donate.
Favorite details: The writing. We had done so much research on child soldiers, brides and laborers that when we came up with The Child Uprising, we channeled all of those stories into the poem. We captured the pain that these children endure, and the hope the Right To Play gives them. The emotional response was incredible. We are also proud that everybody poured their hearts into this project, from the clients to the cast and crew in Capetown, to the director and post-production houses.
Visual influences: Originally, we thought the poem would be formidable if the children read the words on camera. However, director Mark Zibert assured us there was even more power in seeing the children defiantly look at camera while a strong voiceover played. He wanted to capture every child saying each line as well, which we did sparingly throughout the one-minute 30-second spot. His influence elevated the idea to the next level.
Specific demands: There were a lot of layers of approval that we had to go through from Right To Play’s end because there was a board that had to approve the idea. We challenged ourselves to come up with something that was bulletproof and strategically sound. Our clients told us that they wanted the creative to make them feel “woke,” which gave us license to push ourselves.