The road to financial independence begins at school. That’s the idea behind the collaboration between Mastercard and the World Food Programme (WFP) to provide children in developing countries with daily school meals. For many of these children, the WFP-provided school meal is their only meal of the day, and can mean the difference between going to school or staying at home. It also offers an incentive for parents to send their children to school instead of doing manual labor.
Mastercard decided to make the Dutch aware of the importance of school meals to children in developing countries, through a partnership with WFP. The aim was not only to raise donations, but also to use Mastercard’s brand authority to raise the important social theme of food security, and clearly demonstrate ‘financial inclusion’, one of its communication pillars.
With a broad target audience of Dutch parents and caregivers, and a rather limited budget of €47,000 (including out-of-pocket costs for production etc), the task appeared to be a difficult one. Additionally, the topic was going to be a tough sell, as the Dutch are extremely skeptical about multinationals linking themselves to charities, and journalists were likely to see it as opportunist. The question was how to share our message in an effective and authentic manner with this broad target audience.
OUR STRATEGY: #OPGETROMMELD
In the Netherlands, it’s common for parents to prepare a lunchbox for their children to take to school. We wanted to build a link between the school lunch people make for their own children, and the importance of a school lunch for children who might not otherwise go to school. The shared experience of a school lunchbox
would highlight the similarities, and the differences, between children across the world.
To communicate this message, Mastercard invited parents and caregivers in the Netherlands to share a photo of their child’s well-filled lunchbox on social media, with the hashtag #opgetrommeld*. For each photo shared, Mastercard donated a week of school meals for a child in a developing country.
[#opgetrommeld literally means ‘drummed up’, but ‘trommel’ also refers to the Dutch word for lunchbox. So, drumming up interest to share their lunchboxes.]
The #opgetrommeld campaign was launched on World Food Day (16 October), with a thoughtprovoking video on social media, and a press release, which involved the media from the outset. Eight well-known food and parent influencers boosted the campaign by sharing their own children’s lunchboxes on social media, with a call to action for followers to join in. In fact, the influencers liked the initiative so much, they shared and boosted the content for free or for a much-reduced price.
The campaign was soon taken up by other social media users, and even promoted by Arjan Bol, Country Manager of Mastercard Netherlands, who shared a picture of his own child with a lunchbox.
Lifestyle media were approached and responded enthusiastically to this important campaign, by sharing relevant articles. The month-long campaign concluded with a charity dinner and auction, which raised an additional €147,834 for WFP. Entries from the #opgetrommeld campaign were also displayed in a mini exhibition during the evening, which generated additional news value.
The aim of the campaign was to demonstrate to consumers the importance of school meals for children worldwide, and bring Mastercard’s financial inclusion pillar to life. A goal that was overwhelmingly achieved. In addition to the huge reach and attention drawn to the importance of the WFP school lunch programme, the campaign established Mastercard as a likeable brand with local relevance in the Netherlands, enhancing its reputation in the market. It also effectively linked the work carried out by WFP to Mastercard.
The campaign itself created a ‘snowball effect’, with the message cascading down from large influencers to other (smaller) influencers, and on to other social platforms, resulting in great free publicity from highend lifestyle media. Many Dutch people, employees and media were truly touched by this campaign. The ELLE newsletter named the campaign one of the “5 things that will make you happy”. And a participant on Instagram said: “Drawing attention to your child’s lunch can draw attention to the importance of lunch for other children. With just a small effort you can get more children at school desks, and ultimately ensure a better future for them. Love the well thought through initiative!”
The campaign reached an estimated 3.2 million Dutch people and 750,000 school meals have been donated by Mastercard and the Dutch public.