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Richard Brim, art director
Daniel Fisher, writer
Jeremy Kunze/Domenic Lippa, design directors
Jonathan Burley, creative director
Leo Burnett London, ad agency
Rachel Murphy, Shelter, client
Shelter is the housing and homeless charity. Following the 2008 economic collapse, their cause was greater than ever. 79,000 households were already living in temporary accommodation and this was predicted to increase to over 150,000 by the end of 2009. We were briefed to create awareness of the issue and to help generate new funding. However there were already a whole range of other good causes out there fighting for the public's attention, many with far bigger budgets, so we knew our idea would have to work that bit harder to succeed. Our solution was the 'House of Cards' campaign, an idea that was based on the universally recognised metaphor for fragility and which gave us a simple communications metaphor that could be rolled out across multiple channels, starting with a TV commercial and finishing with an exhibition of artwork supplied by 52 of the world's leading artists. Creative execution We launched with a TV and print campaign depicting landscapes with various buildings made from playing cards in a state of collapse. Once the 'House of Cards' campaign idea was established we took the campaign further by erecting a lifesize model of a house of cards amongst the tents at Glastonbury to deliver a news-grabbing message about temporary housing. Finally we launched the final phase, the House of Cards Exhibition, where we invited 52 leading artists to design a playing card each and make the ultimate deck of cards. One of the cards was opened up to the public with a huge, Metro backed competition that garnered over 300,000 votes; and London's street artists were recruited to create further hype by creating a live poster campaign in the days before launch. An online gallery was also launched and collectors-item packs produced, helping the campaign to live on after the exhibition. Results and effectiveness The campaign was exposed to over 7 million eyeballs; generated over £1,000,000 of free media coverage; led to a 1600% increase in the number of online discussions on the housing issue; and helped secure several new government initiatives to prevent repossession. Shelter also built relations with a new support base – the hundreds who submitted artwork for the competition; the thousands who visited the exhibition; and the hundreds of thousands who voted in the competition, followed it's progress in Metro and visited the online gallery. Furthermore, the auction and the sale of the cards raised over £150,000 for the charity.
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