#OameniBuni campaign gets Moldovans connected to equality and diversity
25 Aug 2016 by Natalia Voronova
Oameni buni means good people in Romanian. This message aims to help people reflect upon a simple idea: we are the same – we are people. Everywhere. And this should unite and not break us apart. This is especially important for Moldova because recent data points to the fact that representatives of the LGBTI community, people from the Roma ethnic group, and persons with disabilities are among the least accepted vulnerable groups in the Republic of Moldova (see Figure 1).
Figure 1: “Study on Equality Perceptions and Attitudes in the Republic of Moldova” (2015)
Designed and developed over a period of several months by teams from the Equality Council (an independent authority created in 2013 under the Equality Law to deliberate and issue decisions on discrimination cases), Action Global Communications PR agency, and the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) in Moldova, the #OameniBuni campaign was implemented as part of the project "Supporting National Human Rights Institutions as per International Treaty Bodies and UPR Recommendations”, funded by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Norway.
Looking back, here is some advice on conducting such a sensitive and important campaign:
1. Think of your target audience
Understand how people think. We organized focus group discussions with representatives of the Equality Council, civil society, and public authorities to analyze the internal and external perception of the Equality Council. We realized that the work of the Council and the concept on discrimination in Moldova were not sufficiently known to the public in general, especially to people in rural settings. Similarly, we realized that the Council, being a fairly new body, has little visibility as an authority on preventing and combatting discrimination in society.
Equality is important in the message, but also in the approach to the delivery of the message. In the case of #Oamenibuni, the videos were broadcast on the TV channels mostly viewed in rural areas (Moldova 1, Jurnal TV and RTR Rossia). Also, since Russian language is a language in which national minorities communicate in Moldova more often, the videos were prepared in Romanian and Russian, and placed to cover the Romanian and Russian speakers in an equal manner. In this way, through Facebook targeted ads, videos in Russian reached users located in ATU Gagauzia (Administrative Territorial Unit of Gaguzia – an autonomous territorial entity in Moldova), Tiraspol, and Balti – all cities populated predominantly by ethnic minorities.
2. Be creative
Do something different and don’t go for the easiest way. The videos were prepared and filmed entirely from scratch, the only digital parts in the videos are the text and logos at the end of the video. To film the spots, the images and parts of them were cut out of wood, hung on ropes from the ceiling and the camera turned around to capture the image. This effort is visible to the audience and makes a difference.
3. Use information/images that your target audience understands
The message must be understood by all who see it. We used images of globally and locally famous persons, who fall into categories of the most marginalized and discriminated people in Moldova: Roma, LGBTI, persons with disabilities, and women (based on gender). The viewer was asked to answer one simple question: what do you see?
- Freddy Mercury – a gay or a musical legend?
- Marie Curie – woman or Nobel Prize winner?
- Steven Hawking – person with disabilities or a genius astrophysicist?
- Budulai (played by actor Mihail Volontir) – a Roma person or a legendary hero?
4. Where you broadcast matters
The broadcasting time matters. Pick a time when people are already watching TV. The #OameniBuni videos were broadcasted in prime time and off time for 4 weeks. The broadcasting was done during the European Championship, which largely increased the audience. The TV Campaign reached more than 900,000 people, which makes 36% of adult population.
5. Go online and deliver your message in several ways
Use more than just Facebook. To increase the campaign’s visibility, as well as knowing that part of our target audience does not use Facebook, we targeted other online channels as well:
- Facebook - videos placed on several relevant pages (Equality Council, UNDP Moldova, and other communities) – 230,000 people reached;
- Pre-rolls placed on UNIMEDIA (one of the biggest news websites from Moldova), Mail.ru (one of the biggest online networks in Moldova), and Russian-speaking social media platforms, Odnoklassniki and VKontakte – 102,118 people reached;
- Debates.md (interactive platform for online debates giving people the opportunity to reflect and discuss key issues through constructive debates) had three debates on equality and non-discrimination in society, reaching 949 people who posted their votes on the platform expressing their agreement or disagreement with the Equality Law provisions;
- A dedicated page on the Equality Council web-site, egalitate.md.
Following the 4 weeks of implementation of the #OameniBuni campaign, the Equality Council initiated several events with children to promote the #OameniBuni message. Several mass media web-sites picked up the videos, because of their new creative approach and have been promoting them ever since.
And what lessons do you have to share from your public campaigns? Please share with us in the comments.