A willingness to work with goats helps doug&partners win Plan International assignment

Toronto agency doug&partners has been chosen by charity organization Plan International Canada for its critical Gifts of Hope ethical giving campaign.

The agency is working on strategy, creative development and digital production, alongside The Aber Group, which handles media, and PR agency Paradigm Public Relations.

Gifts of Hope lets people choose from dozens of different gifts that contribute to real development projects to help communities in need: goats, bed nets, baby blankets, training for female health workers and so on.

“The campaign has been going for 14 years, so they were looking for a fresh digital and creative take on a 14-year-old campaign,” said Moxie Garrett, vice-president, digital experience, doug&partners, of being chosen for the assignment.

“We just hit a sweet spot of something that was still close enough to what they knew would work with all their experience, but also just felt really fresh and fun and kind of quirky to them, in a way that was responsible [as] a conversion-based digital campaign.”

Garrett said one of the other reasons for winning the assignment was the agency’s eagerness to work closely with The Aber Group, particularly at a time when digital advertising has become more important for the charity.

“The COVID-19 pandemic has increased our focus on digital channels, and we needed a partner that could develop a strong creative platform and innovate to drive digital response this holiday season,” said Naomi Midanik, director of one-time gifts for Plan International Canada.

Aber Group has been working on the business for several years, and has a lot of valuable data and analytics that can be used as a foundation to build the creative campaign, said Garrett.

“I just really believe that in a digital ecosystem, the creative can’t lead the media and the media can’t always lead the creative,” said Garrett. “To be really effective they should be done at the same time, with different expertise at the table.”

Plan International has traditionally relied on a lot of in-person connections to drive donations: meet and greets, on-the-street canvasing, etc., said Garrett. “Because of COVID they’re really concentrating on the highest-performing, highest conversion, lowest cost of acquisition digital pieces… They wanted something highly creative, but still highly tactical.”

The campaign won’t launch until early November, but Garrett did offer one clue about what to expect. “You can pretty much count on some goats,” she said, noting they are the most popular item in the Gift of Hope catalogue. “There will be a creative idea about the goats.”

David Brown