Thanks to Michael Leuthner, Care2's senior advocacy manager, for highlighting this unique fundraising campaign!
The Cannes Lions International Advertising Festival was held this past June. Winners at the event are given a Gold, Silver or Bronze Lion. This year, a Bronze winner in the category for direct marketing was a campaign called "SMS for Lunch," run by an organization named Meir Panim Soup Kitchen.
The campaign illustrates what it feels like to give one hungry child a meal by using a web ad integrated with mobile text
messaging technology. A boy is seen facing an empty plate looking sad and hungry. The text in the ad invites you to make a donation by text messaging a number. Then the moment the system receives an SMS text message the banner changes before the user's eyes - filling the plate with food and making the boy smile. You can see the process of the donation in this animation, just click 'Send SMS.'
According to Shimoni Finkelstein Draft FCB, the advertising agency that launched the campaign, websites and cellular companies provided their services pro bono, and each SMS covered the cost of one meal.
"Watching the boy’s face and plate change before your eyes, and realizing your SMS has actually done it, makes the difference. Providing an immediate reward, plus imitating a web game feel, contributed to the motivation to act. Furthermore, this idea has successfully removed a classic obstacle from the way: the confirmation SMS, along with the full plate and the boys’ smile is somewhat reassuring, as for where your money really goes." Unfortunately I couldn't find any information on how much money was raised with this campaign.
It also seems that the ad changed for everyone looking at it so long as one text message was sent. So if three people are looking at the ad, and one person sends a text message, all three people will see the plate fill. That however, doesn't undermine how brilliant this is as a campaign.