The Webby for Good, produced in partnership with WP Engine, is a showcase of Webby-honored projects and campaigns that are promoting social good in the world.
Describe your project. What is it, what was the elevator pitch?
We drove widespread awareness for The Hunger Project by establishing a link between missing out on a dinner reservation at the most popular restaurants, to what it’s like to miss out on dinner in a third world country. We made dining out a charitable gesture by using a first world problem to help address a third world problem.
What key challenges did you face with this project? And how did you overcome them?
We had a budget of $0 to activate against, so our challenge was to rally partners and collaborators to donate their time and resources. We achieved this by creating an idea that not only benefited The Hunger Project but also the individual organisations that participated, by providing them with added exposure and PR value. We were able to get every one of the 75+ restaurants to donate a table, meal and drinks for 2; we worked with Ebay to develop a dedicated auction site for the reservations; and we partnered with chefs, food bloggers, restaurant review sites and mainstream publications to ensure we earned a disproportionate share of pop culture during the campaign period.
What was the most rewarding aspect of working on your project?
By solving a first world problem, we were able to bring awareness to a third world problem—generating 81,108 meals and electing 41 Indian women to support their community for 1 year. There was also a genuine sense of collaboration for the greater good amongst all contributors. Knowing that we are setting up a platform that will endure for years to come was also highly rewarding.
What was your main goal with this campaign?
The Hunger Project is a small nonprofit which empowers communities to be self-reliant—a sustainable charity model. Despite their forward-thinking approach, when most people think of hunger, they think of The Red Cross. Given this, our primary goal was to raise awareness for The Hunger Project and help them find active investors.
When working on this project, what were some of the most important conversations you had with your team?
The most important conversation we had was about understanding and empathizing with those who were feeling hungry—putting ourselves in their shoes. This prompted us to ask the question: What would it take to overcome this circumstance and how could we help in creating a sustainable future for those in need? We also discussed the importance of collaborating with partners to raise awareness for a cause that genuinely helps people help themselves. With a zero dollar budget, we knew that we needed to pull together a broad team that was completely committed to seeing this campaign through.
What did you learn from working on this project that you didn't know going into it? Did anything come out of it that surprised you, or that you weren't expecting?
A key lesson for us was that hunger was not an issue of lack of food, but a lack opportunity. The opportunity to grow or buy the right food could be solved by simply educating and empowering those in need to drive their own sustainable future—this realisation was what inspired us to build awareness for The Hunger Project. We also learned just how much IS possible when you are under very tight resourcing restrictions. If the idea is good enough, people will genuinely jump on board with an eagerness that inspired us!
Best, most innovative and effective or creative use of an event to promote a brand.