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Do It Day Advertising

Do It Day 2016: How Coca-Cola, Amnesty International, IBM, xAd and more proved marketing can change the world in 24 hours


By The Drum Reporters, Editorial team

November 10, 2016 | 22 min read

On Thursday 10 November, a collection of the world's leading brands and brightest creative minds joined forces with The Drum in London and New York to prove that marketing can change the world.


Do It Day saw The Drum take over some of the world's most iconic ad inventory

Over the course of 24 hours, real-world problems ranging from the refugee crisis to littering and finding young people job opportunities were tackled by agencies and brands including NSPCC, Dennis Publishing and the Ad Council.

So here's what this industry achieved when it pooled its resources and talents for one day...


Coke @ Do It Day

Coca-Cola’s team was tasked with devising a behaviour-changing push to encourage people to litter less and recycle more. With help from environmental campaigning group the Hubbub Foundation, the creatives involved brought the brief to life with a stunt on London’s Southbank.

A taster of what will become a wider campaign for the brand in 2017, the Do It Day drive comprised a social experiment dubbed ‘Talking Rubbish’ which quite literally gave litter a voice of its own. A discarded coffee cup and an aluminium can containing hidden speakers was mic'd up to two actors who startled unsuspecting pedestrians. Witty and edgy comments from the litter underlined the mission of both the cheeky cup and attention-seeking can to get people to pick them up and put them in the bin.

On the day Coca-Cola filmed the public’s reaction to the experiment and created a humorous teaser spot giving a taste of how the 2017 campaign will look.

O2 Business Marketing and Greengrass Consulting

Greengrass and O2 brought to life the #walkthetalk social media campaign asking men to give their support to gender equality.

Backed by a 40 second STV-created ad, the social stunt tasked men with removing their socks and shoes and sharing a picture of their feet using the hashtag, which was inspired by the treatment of Theresa May during the general election in the media.

Throughout the day the team contacted a variety of people over Twitter and email explaining the campaign with coverage anchored to the newly launched #walkthetalk website.

STV's film, which ran on the TV network this afternoon, tasked men in the industry with explaining why they want to get involved in the conversation.

Throughout the day, the campaign received almost 100 pictures from men across the UK.



NSPCC used Do It Day to kickstart the #KidsWithGrownUpProblems campaign, conceived by the winning team at Plan It Day, which it is hoping to launch next year if strategising over the coming months goes to plan.

The NSPCC team hired 'Johnny Singleton', a motivational speaker, to give advice on stress management. To make sure people attended, the team used the morning to create flyers and push the event out on social media.

In the afternoon, attendees gathered and Johnny enthusiastically took to the stage. He began talking about anxiety, stress and depression before giving advice on some of his coping mechanisms.

The twist? ‘Johnny’ was 13 years old and revealed that one of the most important outlets to deal with these ‘grown up problems’ is Childline, which is run by NSPCC.

A film crew was on hand to capture the reaction of the audience and will potentially use the content to form part of the wider campaign.


Searchlight from IBM

The challenge set by the IBM team at Plan It Day and put into action at Do It Day was to raise awareness and promote adoption of its missing people app – an internal project a group within the tech company has been developing.

Using IBM supercomputer Watson’s cognitive capabilities, it has the power to assist police forces in their searches by analysing as much relevant data as possible in the shortest possible time.

IBM software account manager Wendy Larcade, who is heading up the app, explained: “We are now at prototype stage and have something we can demonstrate to police forces. And here today we have these great people who have actually taken our app and come up with loads of great ideas about how to take it to market.”

By the end of Do It Day the app had a name (‘Searchlight’), a logo and brand assets, marketing material which included posters and pop-up banners that can be taken to police events and conferences, a Twitter targeting campaign aimed at key stakeholders and a slick video presentation.

“After all their work today we have built a full year’s marketing plan,” said Larcade.

Amnesty International

Amnesty International

Amnesty International spent Do It Day amplifying its #iwelcome initiative.

Taking a different path from the proposed Plan It Day idea, the day started with Amnesty sharing its #iwelcome message, complete with custom-made artwork, on the iconic Piccadilly Circus screens before mounting a social media push.

Taking inspiration from the ‘Ice Bucket Challenge’, the call to action asked people to post a selfie pointing to their hearts – as all hearts beat the same – along with the #iwelcome message, the overall aim being to drive signatures to the #iwelcome pledge.

“When you work in the charity sector, it's amazing to get input and inspiration from people who work in different sectors,” said Amnesty International global creative manager Kristin Hulass Sunde.

“[This] could really help transform people’s lives and we’ll be running initiatives over the next two years, this is just the start.”

Like the amplified campaign, the winning US team idea, #OneMoreThing continued to build in New York City.

The team of Grecian Malavé, account executive at The Partners and Charlie Wade, US business development manager of Asos, were encouraged that their idea yielded such great results when the brief was spread to the One Minute briefs community. Post-Do It Day, the hope is that the idea can cross over into other areas or stakeholders related to refugees and their treatment.

“The sheer quantity of people who responded — and responded in the manner of what we were thinking shows how good [the concept] is, shows how easy it is to grasp, as well,” notes Wade.

At the end of Do It Day, the dynamic US duo had developed ideas around three core values: empathy, humanization of the refugee story and utilization of their talents. Each address key issues facing the whole of the refugee population. Combined, and with more time and resource, their approach felt like strong starting point for future action.

Digital Futures

Do It Day

To meet its goal of getting 100 marketing businesses to pledge to take on an apprentice, Digital Futures chartered and branded a double-decker bus, packed it with over 40 eager potential apprentices and took them on a tour of some of London’s hottest creative agencies today.

Starting at Edelman and driving on to AnalogFolk, Iris and Kantar, those on board were treated to showcases from some of the agencies’ top talents and a speed dating-style session at AnalogFolk designed to demystify the types of roles that exist within marketing firms.

By 3pm, Digital Futures’ road-trip, amplified by a social media push and press ads using the hashtag #meetyourfuture, had secured almost 60 pledges. “By this time next week we’ll have smashed our target,” said the organisation’s founder Jonathan Lindon.

And in the spirit of the day’s theme of achieving remarkable feats in unreasonable timeframes, Digital Futures also created a radio ad in a matter of hours with the help of Jungle Studios. Voiced by real apprentices, it was broadcast at 4pm on Share Radio, and you can hear it below.



While some challenger brands scrambled around on Do it Day trying to push through prototypes and creative, Airbnb took a more measured approach.

It wants its idea to allow hosts to support local businesses to become a part of its service and so took the opportunity to speak to hosts and interviewees to envisage what that might look like. It wasn’t about coming up with an app or developing a service in 24 hours, rather it was about coming up with the killer insight needed to ensure guests have local knowledge about areas they’re staying in the palm of their hands.

Dennis Publishing

Dennis at Do It Day

After planting 10,000 trees in the Heart of England forest at Do It Day last year, this time Dennis Publishing rolled out its #hugatree campaign, taking walking talking trees around the streets of London. It also erected a nine-foot tree in its headquarters, pushed ads on the much coveted space in Piccadilly Circus and collated the public’s pictures into a virtual forest online.

The idea behind the #hugatree campaign is to encourage awareness of the valuable UK forestry in order to prevent its decline, a topic close to the heart of Dennis Publishing’s late founder Felix Dennis, who founded the Heart of England Forest charity in 2011.

Today the publisher took to the streets to encourage city folk to show their love for trees, and share pictures on social media. For each picture shared, Dennis promised to plant a tree in exchange. It created fun political snaps of 'Donald Trunk', 'Forest Johnson', 'Barack Oak-bama' and 'Tree-sa May' hugging trees to promote the campaign on social. The planting at the Heart of England Forest will take place in February 2017 at the newly devised Plant It Day.

Business in the Community

Business in the Community

At this year's Do it Day, Business in the Community (BITC) created its 'High Street High School' initiative intended to help turn around Britain's declining high streets.

Following on from the winning idea at Plan it Day, BITC gave a team of creatives from digital design company Aerian a brief to help create the 'High Street High School', an idea inspired by BITC's efforts to address the issues of jobs, decreasing footfall and empty premises, all of which have contributed to the waning health of Britain's high streets in recent years.

Jane Pritchard, enterprise and culture director at Business in the Community (BITC), said: "We've taken the concept of the High Street High School and developed a website and curriculum here today.

"That curriculum has been populated by case studies from the towns we've already worked with so we now have the digital collateral to engage with more business and increase the reach of what we're trying to do."

On Do it Day, the team took all of the case study data and findings from BITC's work across the UK and created the curriculum and website, which will be used when the High Schools open next year.

Eating Better Alliance

The Eating Better Alliance set the beefy brief of persuading men to eat less meat using a social media led campaign. During The Drum’s Do It Day, the brand initiated its veggie crusade by putting to the public the intriguing question: “Are you VegCurious?”

Six out of 10 men eat more than the government’s recommended 70g of red and processed meat a day. To reduce consumption, VegCurious [definition: exhibiting an above average curiosity and inquisitiveness about vegetables] was a tagline conceived to help young men eat less meat by proposing vegetables as a more than worthy replacement.

Advancing the Plan It Day brief, personalised creative featuring mascot VegCurious Reg engaged with brands and individuals on social media to encourage discourse.

This was amplified with ad space donated by Clear Channel on the Piccadilly Circus, the Guardian and Scottish broadcaster STV’s network.

Additionally, chef Bruno Loubet spearheaded the efforts by sharing some of his favourite veggie dishes, directing viewers to a specially built website with recipes and lifestyle aids.


Client Earth

ClientEarth, a charity of activist lawyers, wanted to cut through the smog of disinformation to mobilise Londoners to help minimise 10,000 early deaths caused by air pollution in the city each year.

Kicking off its public awareness drive, ClientEarth’s advertising fundraiser drive deliberately targeted both the most polluted city in the UK (London) and in Scotland (Glasgow) using free digital space donated by Clear Channel.

Print media also played a vital role, with creative conceived during Plan It Day featuring in the Evening Standard and the Guardian as the charity sought donations to fund its battle against the government to enforce clean air legislation.

Deviating from briefs issued on Plan It Day, the brand took inspiration from the wellspring of creative input on the day and taking the opportunity to shoot an awareness-raising ad.

Simon Alcock, ClientEarth communications and public affairs manager, told The Drum: “We’ve really enjoyed working with the creative industries, people with different skills, I hope they come back to Do It Day, you can only change the world when you come together and demand it.”

The Drum Network: Create Britain

Create Britain

The Drum Network launched Create Britain on Do It Day, to encourage creative investors and talent alike to continue looking towards the UK as a creative, thriving hub in which to invest in.

Create Britain is a digital interactive map on which agencies can claim their pin, by submitting a short video on what they believe makes British creativity so brilliant.

On Do It Day, the team split to focus on two crucial paths for Create Britain. One team focused on encouraging agencies to claim their pin to drive them to the site. This involved a social campaign and reaching out to agency networks to spread the word.

The other group focused on engaging with potential clients to drive them to the Create Britain website to see what the UK’s creative industry has to offer. As part of the legacy of the campaign, an inspirational video series will be created which will feature collaborations between great British creatives, for example in fashion, music and art. There will also be monthly interviews which will explore the possibilities of collaboration which will then link to agency pins for investors to look at.

Dixons Carphone with Undercurrent

Imagine a world where connectivity isn't taken for granted, and where getting access to the internet could mean the difference between life and death.

That's the message Dixons Carphone was trying to address via its initiative to bring connectivity to remote townships in South Africa, partnering with BluPoint, a solar-powered pop-up intranet platform which brings connectivity to remote areas.

Along with experiential agency Undercurrent, the challenge the trio took to Plan It Day was to create a campaign to promote information sharing between the UK and South Africa.

The winning strategy took the two-pronged approach of creating a 90-second ad filmed exclusively in 360 video, accompanied by a social media marketing campaign to amplify the film's message.

With some filming taking place on location in South Africa prior to Do It Day, the rest of the video was produced on the day, with one half of the team charged with filming around London over the course of the morning to highlight the contrast between connectivity in the UK and South Africa.

Meanwhile, the group's planners set about ensuring a tight approach to the media plan to activate the film with a social media campaign featuring the hashtag #AfriCAN. The team also had a tight timeframe in which to write and record the ad's voice-over script.

"Here in the UK, internet is seen as a utility after electricity, gas and water, but there's a huge proportion of the world who aren't connected," said Damien Clarke, Undercurrent founder and chief executive. "We were trying to put together a piece of work that shows the juxtaposition of how people consume internet and content in the UK versus Africa."

Bulletproof and Vital (Do It Day Fringe event)

Bulletproof - Vital

Wiping out child poverty in India is no mean feat, but that’s exactly what brand and packaging design agency Bulletproof along with charity Vital aimed to kickstart on Do It Day.

Working as part of The Drum’s Do It Day Fringe event, the pair wanted to raise awareness of the urgent issue in the country as well as bring on corporate sponsors to help fund education, health services, counselling and shelters for children living in slums. Having already refreshed the Vital website to give it a more cohesive and professional tone of voice, which is due to launch at the end of the month.

Bulletproof worked with Vital on the day to share tips and help them stream line their social media channels. They also announced a new corporate sponsor document to better explain this small, but important charity that is run singlehandedly by founder Yvonne Nueman, and recruit bigger sponsors to sustain its work long-term.



The xAd team wanted to utilise its ad tech to identify brands that could redirect their waste food to the homeless.

Using Do It Day to pilot its ad technology, the company accumulated food across London which it used to feed around 200 homeless people.

The pilot gave the brand time to test the real-world benefits its in-store tech can provide (capable of measuring consumer footfall and calculating extra food and more).

Daniel Warner, supply and data director at xAd, explained that xAd shared The Drum's belief in the application of marketing to improve the world.

By creating partnerships with notable food outlets and charities, the company fully realised the philanthropic potential of its technology.

With a soon to be announced wider application of the scheme, xAd hopes to drive efficiency for food redistribution charities in an era where food outlets strive to help the needy and reduce waste.


A #MyEmbrella campaign participant pledges her support in Times Square, New York

At Do It Day New York xAd challenged its team to co-create a location-based platform called Embrella that would anonymously connect domestic abuse victims with local women in their area who are willing to help.

The aim of the campaign was to encourage members of the public to ‘take a stand against domestic violence’. The execution saw participants encourage passersby in Times Square, New York to pose with a pink umbrella and then take the pledge to support the campaign on camera.

The resulting content was then to be shared on the scheme’s various social profiles, with the team able to achieve over 150 shares within an hour of campaigning.

Julie Sharma, charity ambassador, xAd, told the Drum that participation helped it achieve its business goal of ‘helping people to a better place’, adding that the unique setting allowed participants to implement steps towards these goals in an environment that encourages them to see concept-planning through to the point of execution.

Ad Council

Ad Council ad in Times Square

At Do It Day, the Ad Council- which is celebrating its 75th birthday next year - tasked its team to create a campaign or initiative that will raise awareness of the nonprofit among young professionals who are just now getting their start in advertising so it can continue to create impactful campaigns for the next 75 years.

The team came up with a socially-driven campaign called “#HereForGood.” Starting on January 1 of next year, the team plans to share an iconic Ad Council campaign on social media once a week using the hashtag ‘#HereForGood’ until the nonprofit’s 75th birthday on February 18. The team plans to partner with social influencers and potentially celebrities to help spread the message. In addition, the team plans to help the Ad Council throw a networking birthday bash that will give young professionals the chance to mingle with some of the most influential people in the advertising industry.

Karol Marketing

Karol Marketing, a Newcastle-based agency with a track record of working with leading businesses and organisations including Nike; Barbour; Newcastle International Airport and Newcastle University Business School, chose to raise awareness of Northumbria Blood Bikes, a charity that provides an out-of-hours night and weekend service delivering life-saving blood products to hospitals across the North East.

The charity is run entirely by volunteers, but despite its critical work, its public profile remains low, making the recruitment of volunteers a challenge.

Karol’s concept was to draw attention to the life-saving work that Northumbria Blood Bikes carry out by visualising the loneliness and desperation felt by people waiting for blood. Karol's stark images and adverts depict people from every walk of life, stood looking alone, holding a sign saying 'Where is the #bloodbike?'

Working with outdoor media suppliers, Karol secured free advertising space on prominent digital billboards and bus shelters across the region. Volunteers and supporters were encouraged to talk about their association with the charity across social media platforms. Meanwhile, Karol's own social media strategy attracted pledges of support from members of the public and prominent businesses and organisations.

To bring the adverts to life and capture the attention of passers-by, Karol arranged a visually engaging stunt resulting in TV and Radio coverage throughout the day.

In the first 12 hours the campaign resulted in over 1,200 visits to the charity's website, an increase in engagement with its social media posts of over 200% and an increase in page likes of over 350%.

The Doe Fund

The Doe Fund’s Ready Willing & Able program, which helps formerly homeless and incarcerated men rebuild their lives through transitional work, started in New York City 25 years ago and has been replicated in cities including Philadelphia since its founding. The nonprofit is hoping to expand the program to other cities across the US, and at Do It Day, it tasked its team to create something that will not only grab the attention of mayors across the country but also help them realize the positive impact that Ready Willing & Able could have on their city.

The team ended up creating a simple series of graphics that illustrate how Florida could potentially benefit from Ready Willing & Able. Basing their projections off of troves of data from New York’s Ready Willing & Able program, the graphics use measures like budgetary savings, crime reduction and poverty rate to show that Florida could reduce their annual spend on criminal justice by $400m if the program were to be implemented. The Doe Fund hopes to eventually make similar graphics for all 50 states and unite them under an overarching campaign called ‘State of Tomorrow.’

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