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Do It Day returns: Can you help save the high street, bridge the digital skills gap or tackle climate change?

Do It Day

The Drum is once again challenging the marketing industry to achieve extraordinary feats in just 24 hours as Do It Day returns.

In its inaugural year, the event saw leading brands including IBM, Mashable and Dennis Publishing join forces with creatives from across the UK and US to lend their skills to a range of crucial causes for one day. Highlights included planting an entire forest in a matter of hours and building the BeWorthwhile app which is on course to reinvent volunteering for charities.

Fresh from being named event of the year at the British Media Awards, Do It Day is now back for its second installment, challenging creatives to apply their talents to even more ambitious briefs. This year that will include bridging the digital skills gap, tackling the decline of the high street and raising awareness of Childline.

Business in the Community is hoping the combined might of the creative industry at Do It Day can help it achieve its mission of helping high streets create jobs, increase footfall and reduce empty property units. It wants to create a campaign at Do It Day to encourage 100 businesses to pledge their support in all the high streets they operate in.

Jane Pritchard, enterprise and culture director at Business in the Community, said at the Do It Day launch event: “The problems facing the high street are quite well defined. My take on it would be that it’s time to stop talking about the problems and start taking some action to improve things.

“How do we take what we’ve learned, the good practice, and share that with a much wider business audience and inspire them to get their people engaged locally in their communities? How do we inspire all businesses to get engaged on the high street?”

This year marks the 30th anniversary of the NSPCC’s Childline service, which has helped four million people since its launch in 1986. Every 25 seconds it is contacted by a child with concerns, but only 25 per cent of adults in the country understand that Childline is part of the NSPCC, a threat to its continued ability to be available 24 hours a day.

“When people understand what Childline is and the part it plays in keeping children safe, three out of 10 adults are much more likely to support the charity in some way,” said Michael McGrath, head of Childline. “So what we’re trying to do is open up new audiences and find a really simple, tangible creative way for people to engage with what we do.”

Digital Futures was established to address the disconnect between what students are taught in the classroom compared to the skills they need to get a job in the digital industry. Its Do It Day challenge is to place 100 young adults, aged 18-24 years old, who are not in employment education or training, into a work-based opportunity in a day.

“As it stands, digital education isn’t delivering for kids,” said Digital Futures director Ollie Williams “They’re being taught by teachers using syllabuses three or four years out of date. Skills they go to the industry with aren’t relevant and aren’t going to help them get into jobs. We want to change the view that employers have of apprentices, and the benefits they can bring.”

The Eating Better Alliance is a 50-strong organisation that brings together a wealth of charities and civil organisations all concerned about the amount of meat we eat. “If you want big challenges, this is a big challenge,” said campaign coordinator Sue Dibb. “If you want to tackle dangerous climate change, if you want to feed the world more fairly and if you want to ensure that we live healthy lives and don’t cost the NHS phenomenal amounts of money through obesity, cancer and heart disease, there is one way in which we can tackle all of those and that’s by eating less meat.”

Its challenge is to engage men in that conversation. “We’ve got the evidence, we’ve got the knowledge, a whole host of research. But what we’re really looking forward to is working with creative, inspiring marketing people to turn this into a great campaign. How we talk about this in a way that doesn’t annoy people, doesn’t come up against that barrier of ‘don’t tell me what to do’, that isn’t a negative. We want to tap into aspirational ideas.”

Environmental law charity ClientEarth will also be thinking about climate change with its Do It Day challenge: how can we stop 10,000 early deaths in London from air-pollution related illnesses? “We want to build public support for more policies to tackle it,” says spokesperson Simon Alcock. “People are aware that air pollution isn’t great but they’re not quite aware how it affects them, affects their health and what they can do about it. We need to take it to the next level.”

If you think you have the skills to tackle one of these briefs, then you can sign up at doitday.thedrum.com. The first step will be converging at Plan It Day on 29 September when ideas will be formulated, and then the strongest solutions will be put into action for real at Do It Day on 10 November. More challenge partners and briefs will be revealed on The Drum in the coming weeks.

You can see the highlights from Do It Day 2015 in our short film below.

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Staff Writer

The Drum is a global media platform and the biggest marketing website in Europe. We produce The Drum magazine, 30 awards and events and manage The Drum Network which aims to make independently minded agencies more successful. We also help brands find the right agencies to work with through the Recommended Agency Register (RAR).

All by Staff