Digital PR Awards: Cause Marketing/CSR

Winner: APCO Worldwide - IKEA Brighter Lives for Refugees: the One Night without Lights Social Media Challenge

In 2013, more than 2 million people became refugees – a near twenty-year record. The refugee camps these individuals and families are sheltered in usually lack powered lights, which limits everyday activities many people may take for granted. The absence of light in many camps can have a devastating effect on refugees’ safety, education prospects and income.

IKEA’s Brighter Lives for Refugees campaign sought to highlight and help address this problem by donating 1 euro (approx. $1.38) to the UNHCR for every IKEA LEDARE-LED light bulb sold Feb. 3- March 29, 2014. Funds raised would then help to provide solar streetlights, indoor solar lanterns, and other renewable energy technologies in refugee camps run by UNHCR in countries such as Ethiopia, Chad, Bangladesh and Jordan. In addition, the campaign would fund improved primary education.

IKEA US turned to APCO Worldwide, its agency of record for Corporate Communications, to design and implement a communication campaign that would bring national attention to the newly established Brighter Lives for Refugees initiative.

The “One Night without Lights” online campaign challenged people to continue their nightly routines without any source of light, so they could experience what life might be like in a refugee camp. APCO engaged key online influencers to take the challenge and executed a series of tactics to raise awareness of the campaign online among consumers.

In the US, Brighter Lights for Refugees raised over $570,000 in its first campaign year (2014). The One Night without Lights blog challenge resulted in 625,336 unique visitors and 713,873 impressions. Campaign bloggers generated 204 clicks to the IKEA website, The IKEA Share Space Blog, and the IKEA Foundation website between February 3 and February 28, 2014.

Honorable Mentions:

•             APTA + DDC Advocacy - Voices for Public Transit Campaign

•             Kruger Products USA, Inc. - White Cloud Children's Miracle Network Hospital’s Campaign

•             Marina Maher Communications - No Woman Should Die Giving Life: Merck for Mothers Builds and Engages a Facebook Community to Get Informed About Maternal Mortality

•             Powell Tate on behalf of National Women's Law Center - This Is Personal

•             SheKnows - #BossyIs by SheKnows Empowers Girls to Lead

•             Toyota & 360i - Meals per Hour