Guerrilla Marketing Example #7: UNICEF Turn Soldiers Back into Children

Abigail Wilkins 09/30/20 - 9:32 am

Toy soldier figurines enjoying childhood activities

Did you know each year, thousands of kids worldwide are recruited as child soldiers against their will? UNICEF explains, “…the recruitment and use of children by armed forces is a grave violation of child rights and international humanitarian law.”

To raise awareness and money to stop child soldier recruitment, UNICEF created a campaign with Y&R Johannesburg, South Africa called “Turn Soldiers Back into Children.” In the guerrilla direct mail piece, recipients were sent a pack of plastic toy soldiers. But the small figures weren’t carrying weapons of war… they were enjoying normal childhood behaviors: riding bikes, playing with toys, doing handstands, etc.

Thanks to this unique twist, the small figurines left a lasting impression.

Toy soldier figurines enjoying childhood activities

Why we love it

The restrictive nature of direct mail makes it difficult to break the mold. Most pieces consumers receive in their mailboxes are two dimensional. Most are around the same size. And many can slip through the cracks unless they stand out.

We love that this campaign sent a box that immediately piqued interest, and contents that immediately grabbed attention. The pack of toy soldiers flipped the notion of a common youth toy on its head. Not only that, it tapped into the recipients’ own childhood nostalgia to highlight the atrocity of childhoods threatened by armed combat.

Kids deserve to join in a game of tag, not join the armed forces. UNICEF’s guerrilla campaign picked up the momentum, donations and attention to ensure just that.

This is post #7 in our blog series, 10 Examples of Wildly Creative Guerrilla Marketing.

Blog Category: Guerrilla Nonprofit

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We offer a superior level of strategic marketing expertise with proven success. We believe in break-through creative that emotionally connects. We are convergent marketers, creating integrated, multi-media campaigns that deliver results. We guarantee you'll be delighted.