Australia – They call it the Lucky Country.
Sadly though - over 47,000 Australians under the age of 25 are homeless every night.
Youth Off The Streets has provided accommodation, rehabilitation and education for disadvantaged youth for over 23 years. In 2013 they asked us to help them reach school children - as an important audience to arrest declining donations. But with the emotional reality of youth homelessness being foreign to most school kids - we needed to create empathy to drive action, rather than rely on the traditional charity methods.
An Insight Uncovered on the Streets.
It was late one night - that the cold reality of being homeless revealed itself: homeless youth sleep with their shoes on, for fear of them being stolen.
When Homeless Kids Go to Sleep They Don’t Untie Their Laces.
School children take off their shoes routinely every day – so to create a connection we created a new media channel - Blue, branded shoelaces to get our message into this moment of unconscious privilege. To kick off we gave laces to key influencers - encouraging them to get creative and lace it up their own way – then upload their photos with the hashtag and call to action.
Laces quickly started selling through the charity’s website.
The campaign quickly went beyond the school gates.
Lace it up became the official symbol of youth homelessness - with the blue laces making it to the floor of Parliament during National Homelessness Week.
Lace it up had become central to the homelessness conversation - and connecting the community.
Earned media reached more than 1.4 million Australians ad most importantly - lace it up delivered an increase of over 125% in donations.
With the money raised, Youth Off The Streets can:
· Offer over 250 nights of crisis accommodation;
· Deliver over 500 weeks of learning at its high schools;
· Supply warm clothing for 1000 disadvantaged youth;
· Provide more than 5 years worth of counselling, family support and rehabilitation.
For the young people on the streets, this means an opportunity to have a safe place to sleep and untie their laces.