Scope of Good Practice
In 2010 Médiaunió Foundation decided to organize a campaign focusing on the social integration of people living with disabilities to positively influence public opinion. Instead of keeping the problem at arm’s length, the main strategy of the campaign was to generate contact. This was achieved through simulation and interactivity, so that the average person who is indirectly influenced by the situation would be able to better understand and relate to their fellow handicapped citizens.
The Problem Addressed by the Campaign
Hungarian people have a lot of preconceptions; it is hard for them to accept many things that differ from what they view as the norms. They have little information about the disabled, and only very few are able to have direct experience with them, because nearly 600,000 disabled people are unable to leave their home without physical, mental or emotional assistance. If this barrier can be broken, the real person behind the disability can show through.
Médiaunió Foundation focuses on key social problems year by year. Comprehensive research showed that Hungarian people know little about disabilities. Some are afraid of disabled people or feel sorry for them, and only a few have real experiences with disabled people. In 2010 the Médiaunió Foundation decided to focus on the integration of disabled people. The key task of this campaign was to create an opportunity for the target audience to get acquainted with disabled people.
Most people don’t know any disabled people. So the campaign first had to introduce people to those with disabilities and facilitate contact. With the slogan “Get Closer!” the campaign aimed to show that people with disabilities are much more similar to us than we think. Interactions are needed to help people take a look into the lives of disabled people and learn how we can all live together.
Within a four-month timeframe, the campaign wanted to direct as many people as possible to the campaign's website, where four real disabled people displayed their lives openly in public. The creators attempted to attract attention to the problem by asking various public figures to join the movement, but not in a regular way. The campaign asked a beautiful model to “become” deaf, a professional anchorman to sit in a wheelchair and a famous singer to “become” blind while asking: “Could you hear the difference?” In the second wave disabled personalities were introduced, including how they perceive the world from their point of view. They all had their own Facebook profiles so users could follow their daily lives and ask anything they wanted to know. A program was set up where users could offer their help and free time. Towards the end of the campaign, the target audience was confronted with its original prejudices by having the disabled individuals compile their judgments into the form of questions. The webpage had a section for employers about law, subventions and practical tips for employing people with disabilities.
The campaign was fully integrated, and all media was either donated or earned. Within four months media coverage valuing over 1.36 million EUR was attracted with the presence of news material, public lectures, speeches and constant social media. This coverage reached 94.5% of the population (over 15 years old) in the course of ATL and online campaigns, 96.8% throughout the PR campaign.
- TV: Top rated TV channels
- Print: Hungary’s mostly read newspapers
- Online: 200 thousand views, banners
- Outdoor: City lights and billboardsRadio: Top radio stations
The campaign connected the disabled community online. Hungary's most comprehensive employer-based website for the disabled was built, supporting greater independence and enabling the disabled to work. They not only attracted attention to the issue of disabilities, but also accomplished real conversions throughout Hungarian society: hundreds of people offered their money and free time to organizations aiding the handicapped through the site which was awarded “website of the year" in 2010. The campaign also was awarded gold in EACA Care Awards 2011 and in Hipnozis 2011.
- 200+ people worked pro bono
- Only 25,000 EUR spent
- 94.5% of the population (over 15 years old) in the course of ATL and online campaigns, 96.8% throughout the PR campaign
- PR publications generated an estimated audience of 16 million within 4 months
- 230+ journalists were attracted to the campaign
- 400+ articles, interviews and reports were completed
Conclusions and Recommendations
Disability is not a common topic in Hungary. People used to hear about them, but they didn’t really know what to do with them. The campaign not only drew attention, but offered everyday solutions and practices. Now people better understand how to act when they meet disabled people; they may offer help and won’t get confused when a blind man asks for their hand at the crosswalk. A website and Facebook page have extended the campaign so the topic can continue to shape attitudes and increase sensitivity to disabled people.