Facebook brace for DDB Chopper Appeal

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DDB New Zealand has solidified its Campaign Asia-Pacific’s 2015 Best Australasian Digital Agency title after winning two virtual gongs in the 2016 Facebook competition, for Westpac 2015 Chopper Appeal Handheld Rescue.

Running every May, the Westpac Chopper Appeal is a national fundraising event where awareness and funds are raised for the charities that provide New Zealand’s rescue helicopter services.

The Westpac Choppers rely on public donations, but donations to the appeal had been falling since 2011. Furthermore, it was a challenge to engage audiences with footage that is hard to watch, like emergencies or rescues – it’s too easy to scroll past.

DDB knew it would have to remind Kiwis about the power of actions, both online and in the real world. The objective was to raise donations, primarily through online channels and remind our audience about the importance of the rescue helicopters.

“We used Facebook tools to place a life into our user’s hands,” said DDB digital CD Haydn Kerr. “We filmed a woman trapped in a lifelike emergency, based on real-life rescue stories. We then spliced the film into a series of episodes – in each film her situation got worse. We posted the films to our audience’s newsfeed using a combination of sequencing and reach and frequency posts.

“The emergency felt like it was unfolding in real time. We used daypart targeting to match the time within the film to the time in the real world. We added a time counter to the film to increase the sense of urgency.

“The overall effect for the user was a deep level of empathy for the woman in our films, and an understanding that their actions have the power to save lives. Like in the real world, if you ignored this emergency it got worse. But if you acted, she was saved.”

Westpac saw higher levels of engagement than ever before and DDB was able to translate the real world experience of helicopter rescue into the online world, via Facebook tools.

Haydn said: “We’re thrilled to be included among the best Facebook campaigns from around the world. And to get two awards for the same campaign is a real feat. Fingers crossed, both for us and Special Group as we go into the final round of judging.

“Hopefully the Kiwi connection with Mark D’Arcy [chief creative chairman of Facebook Creative Shop] will pay off and we’ll see a big award coming down to NZ.”

The final, global judging will take place next month, with winners announced Wednesday 15 June.

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