A campaign for redirecting 2% of the income tax towards the fight against school abandonment

School ditching is for most of us the innocent violation that often goes unnoticed and that we remember, over time, with nostalgia and even with an accomplice smile. But about another type of ditching, the truancy of the disadvantaged children, we never talk because there are no subjects such as school supplies, clothing or food in the school roll.

In order to reduce the rate of school abandonment among disadvantaged children, the Romanian Red Cross and MullenLowe have launched a campaign for redirecting 2% of the income tax towards this social cause.

“We all know that Romania has one of the highest school abandonment rates in Europe. However, there is not enough talk about the reasons that lead to these sad statistics. Through the campaign launched with MullenLowe we intend to draw attention towards a phenomenon that should not be ignored, but also to convince the public that their small contribution can have a decisive impact on the future of some children. And because the future is taught in school, we hope more and more people say “Here!” to our campaign, by redirecting 2% of their income tax,” says Ioan Silviu Lefter, general director, Romanian Red Cross.

When it comes to poor children and their impossibility of attending school, the first thing that comes to our minds are school supplies and clothing, things that pose a financial challenge even for medium-income families. What we probably tend to forget, maybe too easily, is the fact that the hierarchy of needs is the same for everybody. Before anything else, children need lunch, subject which, again, is not taught in schools. The reality of these disadvantaged pupils is as painful as it is true.

MullenLowe’s challenge was to highlight this aspect that is not talked about enough. This way, the concept of ditching was developed, in the context where poor children inevitably miss one of the most important meals of the day. In order to touch the target audience, the agency decided to remind them of the moments when they preferred to skip school and especially of the reasons that determined them to make this choice. In contrast with rebellion, love, the wish to simply walk through the park with friends or join your band for rehearsals, there comes the lack of food – the reason that hinders disadvantaged children to say “Here!” to lunch.

“For sure any of us has at least one funny story about how they used to ditch a class for reasons that, at that particular time, seemed of astronomical importance. But how many of us ever thought about the children that ditch school every day, against their will? And not because they wouldn’t want to learn or because they would rather play ball in the street, but because they lack basic things, such as food, clothing and school supplies. In order to maximize the message, we highlighted the contrast that is created between average children and the disadvantaged,” says Alina Bălan, Client Service Director, MullenLowe.

The promotional mix includes radio, online, print and social media.

The campaign benefits from the support of Iuliana Tudor, ambassador of the Romanian Red Cross, who talks about the reasons that determined her to ditch school from time to time, in order to create an antithesis with a powerful impact regarding the situation of the disadvantaged children.

The MullenLowe team for this project includes Alin Marghidanu (Group Creative Director), Miruna Dumitrescu (Copywriter), Victor Oprişan (Group Creative Director), Daniel Oprea (Art Director), Alina Bălan (Client Service Director) and Ionela Tatu (Account Manager).