How Malaria No More UK inspired world leaders to commit $4bn to defeat deadliest-ever disease

Malaria No More UK won Best Not for Profit or Charity Content Marketing Strategy/Campaign at The Drum Content Awards 2019 for its Malaria Must Die campaign. In this case stufy, the charity reveals the challenges faced and the strategies used to produce this successful initiative.

The challenge

In 2017, the WHO’s World Malaria Report showed that, for the first time in a decade, cases of malaria and malaria-related deaths were on the rise. In response Malaria No More UK convened a conglomerate of partners to create a campaign to reframe perceptions of malaria and inspire leaders to take action to end the world’s oldest and deadliest disease.

At its highest level the campaign was developed to catapult malaria back onto the political agenda. Government funding is required to end malaria in our lifetime, save lives now and halt the rise in cases and deaths, which risks undoing years of progress already made in fighting the disease.

To achieve this, we set ourselves the overarching communications goal to influence the political and private sector to make commitments to ‘end malaria in a generation’.

More specifically our objectives were to:

  • Secure commitments from key donor countries.
  • Build broader public awareness of malaria in key markets.
  • Recruit new voices and champions for the campaign (influencers, talent, private sector, grassroots).
  • Build momentum and roadmap to 2020 – including establishing new partnerships.

The strategy

Working with tight budgets forced us to think creatively about delivering impactful communications with very little resources. We developed a strategy that would allow us to leverage partners and deliver ambitious targets. This became known as the ‘creative collective’, a group of creative partners working pro/low bono, all with a shared vision of ending malaria and saving lives. Starting with R/GA and Dentsu Aegis Network, our collective is now more than 30 partners strong and includes global brands like Facebook, Nando’s, Ridley Scott Associates, Fever-Tree, Clear Channel and Aardman.

In the first phase (Feb-April 2018) we identified two key audiences:

  • Leaders (political and private sector) in key markets (including UK, France, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda and Kenya);
  • Global youth: the ‘leaders of tomorrow’ of whom a.) political leaders are keen to engage and b.) will be the citizens eventually driving and delivering the 2030 global goals) in key markets (including UK, US, France, Nigeria, South Africa, Rwanda and Kenya).

From here we developed the following strategy:

- Identify the decision makers in target markets where there is a concern about the level of Global Fund commitment and potential for political/economic trends, multiplier assets and partners to support effective delivery.

- Provide mood music via elite media, strategic use of influencers, and a platform for leaders to step forward with concrete commitments.

- Continue to build a white label campaign that gives partners cutting edge content to push malaria at critical moments.

- Working through an expanded Creative Collective, make and deliver cut-through content that works for priority audiences/markets, driving and delivering a strong malaria narrative.

- Use the strongest and most relevant influencer voices – expanding from global talent, to micro influencers and a broader scope of voices providing moral authority, business voices, etc.

We then developed partnerships with talent and digital influencer agencies to enable us to amplify the campaign organically.

The campaign

The campaign, launched by David Beckham, called on the public to take action to end malaria, the world’s oldest and deadliest disease. The film was succeeded with an animation by Aardman and ongoing content featuring talent such as James Corden, Andy Murray, Zoella and Hugh Laurie.

The next mission was to encourage governments to pledge to the Global Fund to Fight AIDS, Tuberculosis and Malaria taking place in October 2019 in Lyon, France.

In April 2019 Malaria Must Die released a short film, produced by Ridley Scott Associates and harnessing groundbreaking AI technology provided by Synthesia, in which David Beckham launched the world’s first voice petition to end malaria.

Instead of collecting signatures, the campaign asks people around the world to add their voices. Each voice collected via the petition will contribute to a unique piece of audio art which will be delivered to world leaders at the UN General Assembly ahead of critical funding decisions for the Global Fund, which provides almost 60% of malaria funding.

The next campaign phase in September will launch the world’s first malaria AR filter with Facebook alongside a target digital-out-of-home campaign to ensure leaders at the UN General Assembly in New York are aware the global public is watching and holding them accountable for their commitments.

The results

The first phase of the Malaria Must Die campaign in 2018 reached 1.3 billion people via content pieces including the first David Beckham short and ‘Mozzy Bites’ multi-talent piece. The subsequent attention on the campaign culminated in the Malaria Summit 2018, the stage for an historic moment as leaders, royalty and civic figures gathered to witness a pledge to halve malaria in the Commonwealth and a commitment of $4.1 billion; declarations that could save 650,000 lives and protect 350 million more.

The second phase of the campaign, launching the voice petition with David Beckham’s call to action in nine languages, we saw 1873 pieces of media coverage, 64 million opportunities to view, with an advertising equivalent value of £2.6 million dollars. Highlights of the launch day included coverage on hourly bulletins on BBC News, Sky News, Channel 5 news and ITV Lunchtime, and interviews with our spokespeople on BBC’s Victoria Derbyshire, Channel 5 and Sky News. 1177 digital out-of-home ads appeared across UK malls courtesy of Clear Channel and Dentsu Aegis Networks, with 6 million more opportunities to view. The film was also broadcast across 10 channels in 37 African countries throughout the African Cup of Nations football tournament thanks to partnerships with SuperSport and Nando’s.

Digitally the campaign has so far seen 543 million digital impressions and 3.1 million video views, Top countries reached via social media included our target countries: US, Nigeria (trended on Twitter), India, South Africa, Kenya and Indonesia.

As a result of the petition thousands of people have spoken up and leaders are taking action. The UK government alone has pledged to help save two million lives from AIDS, TB and malaria, Japan announced their commitment and Portugal tripled their previous commitment to the Global Fund, setting invaluable examples to other nations preparing to make pledges ahead of the conference in October 2019.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Content Awards 2019. If you think you can do better, register your interest in next year's awards.

Join us, it's free.

Become a member to get access to:

  • Exclusive Content
  • Daily and specialised newsletters
  • Research and analysis

Join us, it’s free.

Want to read this article and others just like it? All you need to do is become a member of The Drum. Basic membership is quick, free and you will be able to receive daily news updates.