Plan International announces a distressing marriage

A "normal" wedding announcement is subverted as the non-profit uses its brand platform to target child marriage.

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Plan International Canada’s latest effort in its “Defy Normal” campaign is subverting the traditional wedding announcement to stop child marriage in its tracks.

As part of a direct mail effort, what might otherwise be a normal wedding announcement is turned on its head with display copy that highlights the reality of forced marriage in some parts of the world: “We are distressed to learn of the upcoming marriage of Latifa, aged 13, to Salum, aged 44.”

The campaign elements also includes a new short online video, blog content on its website, as well as digital collateral in the style of its “Defy Normal” campaign, with stills and infographics more focused on the subject of child marriage.

“Our goal is to generate awareness about the practice of child marriage that continues to prevent so many girls around the world from unlocking their potential, and to inspire people to take action,” according to Caroline Riseboro, president and CEO of Plan International Canada.

In the fall, Plan International Canada launched “Defy Normal,” where the organization called on stakeholders to take a stand anywhere children are oppressed and exploited, or where girls aren’t equally valued. The current campaign is part of the same platform, bringing the idea of making child marriage seem less “normal” in parts of the world where it is common.

Plan International Canada is also looking to build more brand awareness. While long-running campaigns like “Because I am a Girl” resonated with the public, they did not associate it with the organization behind it, according to Riseboro.

Plan International is targeting existing donors with the campaign, but also aims to resonate with new donors who will connect with a message based around equality for girls. Plan’s overall goal is to help 20 million children in its international development programs globally over the next five years, Riseboro says, which include child sponsorship, and the “Gifts of Hope” initiative that sends needed supplies to schools and communities.

The letters, video and infographics will be showcased on the Plan International Canada home page, as well as online in social media ads (both video and static). The letters will be the part of direct mailing, digital banners, and OOH, and print ads will run in Today’s Parent, Canadian Living and Chatelaine. Bleublancrouge handled the digital and OOH executions and RI did direct mail, with L’Institut Idée on strategy and Hill + Knowlton Strategies on public relations.

The campaign runs until June 4.