“Why wasn’t this done years ago?” —Troy Lachance
“I would temporarily surrender my social feeds and networks for this good cause!” —Ana Serrano
Overview: The majority of public service campaigns focus on awareness. But to truly help an organization that handles 50,000 reported missing children cases every year, raising awareness is not enough. This initiative for the Missing Children Society of Canada takes an active role to help reach the true objective—finding missing children and bringing them home safely. Instead of an ad campaign, Grey Canada created Milk Carton 2.0, a series of web and mobile innovations that use social platforms like Facebook, Google and Foursquare to involve the public in the search for missing kids.
• Milk Carton 2.0 is built using modular design concepts. Given that there are always new social platforms emerging, the technology is built in such a way as to ease future integrations.
• The navigation was designed to be simple to understand and easy to use, and to allow people to subscribe quickly.
• The system gives the Missing Children Society of Canada the flexibility to be extremely targeted in a search, whether that means sending an alert to people countrywide or just those in a two-block radius.
Comments by Patrick Scissons:
What do you think are the project’s core features? “The first Milk Carton 2.0 tool, The World’s Most Valuable Social Network, allows people to donate their social news feeds to authorities, who can use them to deploy missing child alerts. Other ‘Most Valuable’ platforms followed: Most Valuable Search Engine is a Google plug-in that replaces the ads that pop up alongside search results with missing child alerts and safety tips for parents. Most Valuable Check-In is a digital tool that sends alerts to Four-square locations that are closest to the place where a child has gone missing. Most Valuable Pin Board creates Pinterest pages associated with missing child alerts that share visual triggers, like the clothing the child was wearing or the type of vehicle driven by the abductor, to help increase the chances of a sighting.”
What was the response? “Public interest and participation was immediate. Twelve weeks after launch, Milk Carton 2.0 was beta tested with a missing child alert in Hope, British Columbia. Within 36 hours of the alert, the 16-year-old girl was found. Milk Carton 2.0 was directly responsible for assisting in the rescue of six missing children in the first five months alone, as verified by post-recovery interviews and police reports.” Is the audience you were targeting a particularly difficult one to reach? “To reach? No. To engage? Yes. Asking the public to simply donate social currency instead of monetary currency allowed us to get more people involved, and made them reconsider what a donation could be.”