Scope of Good Practice
Under the slogan “Deutschland findet euch” ("Germany will find you"), this national campaign in Germany helped to track down missing children. The campaign utilized a wide range of different media including social media, internet, posters, ambient media, a mobile app, an interactive music video and promotional activities.
The Problem Addressed By the Campaign
Every year in Germany, more than 100,000 children and young people are reported missing.
In the search for missing children, one crucial factor is information from the general public — ideally as soon as possible after the child’s disappearance. Even in an era of high-tech searching techniques, it is still often a single detail — something that somebody noticed — that can determine a child's fate. And virtually anyone can be an eyewitness. Within this context, it was obvious that the campaign needed to appeal to a broad target group. The “Deutschland findet euch” campaign ultimately calls upon every German to actively participate in the search for missing children. Any clue to the whereabouts of a missing child is valuable—regardless of the age, gender or social characteristics (income, etc.) of the person providing that information.
With the help of the internet, the team assembled the biggest search party of all time and got all of Germany searching for missing children. The world’s first organized network-based search for missing children was launched under the core slogan of “Deutschland findet euch” (Germany will find you).
The team launched a cross-media campaign to activate as many search helpers as possible and to raise extensive awareness. All the activities included a direct reference to the “Deutschland findet Euch” platform and called on people to join in the search.
Using a partnership between FC Bayern Munich and Real Madrid, the players all ran onto the pitch, each accompanied by a child. All except for one: Mark van Bommel, who instead carried a picture of a missing child.
Singer-songwriter Jan Sievers dedicated his song “Die Suche” (the search) to missing children.
“Hamburg Freezers” Initiative
At the German Ice Hockey League game between the Hamburg Freezers and the Iserlohn Roosters the players wore pictures of missing children on their shirts.
The campaign used lifts throughout Germany to demonstrate just how quickly children can disappear. A poster of a child was printed on the door. Whenever the door opens the child disappeared. A QR code inside the elevator led directly to the Facebook page.
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Whenever pages or images cannot be found on German websites or in stock photography agency databases, users are presented with pictures of children who have also gone missing. From here, users can click to be taken to the children’s profiles on Facebook.
If searches on the websites of German photography agencies came up with no results, the names and photographs of currently missing children appeared instead.
The “Missing” App
In order to provide the search party with mobile support, the team developed a smartphone app and a mobile site.
Within the space of a couple of months “Deutschland findet euch” became the world’s largest network for tracing missing children. Today, the Facebook platform is supported by more than 150,000 helpers (Facebook Fans). In total, the campaign generated over 120,000,000 media exposures.
But the best result of all: four missing children have already been found thanks to “Deutschland findet euch”.
Conclusions and Recommendations
Within an extremely short period of time, “Deutschland findet euch” became the world’s largest network for tracing missing children.
The initiative in figures:
- Over 150,000 Facebook fans
- 15,000,000 euros worth of media coverage
- A total global exposure of 120,000,00 people
But the best result of all and the most indisputable evidence of the campaign’s impact is this simple fact: Thanks to “Deutschland findet euch,” four missing children have already been found again.