Today IPG Mediabrands, the media innovation arm of Interpublic Group, announced the successful completion of their annual holiday giving campaign in support of international charity and educational partner Free The Children's global youth empowerment event, We Day.

Video: We Day - Celebration with Joe Jonas and Demi Lovato

This year’s campaign featured superstars Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas who took to social media to encourage people around the world to follow We Day (@weday) on Twitter and Facebook. For the duration of the campaign with every new follower, sponsors would generously donate a school kit containing a notebook and pencil for a child overseas. With a total of 1,581,060 new social media followers, over 1.5 million school kits will be delivered to students across the eight countries where Free The Children carries out its development work.

As longstanding supporters of Free The Children, Demi Lovato and Joe Jonas have volunteered in Africa, and performed at We Day events across North America. As part of this year’s global holiday campaign developed by IPG Mediabrands, both stars generously lent their voices to raise awareness about We Day and Free The Children’s commitment to education both here at home and overseas.

IPG Mediabrands agencies UM, Initiative and BPN deployed the campaign across five continents between December 26, 2013 and January 31, 2014, engaging their media partners to donate free advertising space throughout the course of the campaign, all in support of We Day.

Mediabrands’ agency Initiative Sajo Garcia Alcazar from Puerto Rico was in charge of devising the creative strategy of the PSA from concept ideation to execution. The agency announced that Carlos Garcia, founder of Initiative Puerto Rico and the creative mastermind of all Free the Children’s holiday campaigns since 2011 passed away last Thursday; his contributions to Free the Children were of immeasurable value and his legacy will always be remembered by the organization.

We Day is an educational youth empowerment event which is taking the philanthropic world by storm and is now going global, with events in the United States, Canada and the United Kingdom. We Day is free to attend, but students earn their ticket through engaging in a minimum of one local cause and one global cause. Because of We Day, over 160,000 youth this year alone will earn their entry into stadium gatherings. As depicted in the global PSA campaign, We Day is now on par with some the biggest events in sports, music and film. World-renowned leaders and A-list entertainers have added their voice addressing the audiences including Sir Richard Branson, Kofi Annan, Archbishop Desmond Tutu, Magic Johnson, Martin Sheen, Queen Noor of Jordan, Jennifer Hudson, Imagine Dragons, Macklemore and Ryan Lewis, cast members from Glee, among many others. We Day is one of the world’s largest charitable causes on Facebook with 3.7 million fans and over 1 million Twitter followers.

“We Day is such a unique event – and being part of a movement that inspires young people, whether in a stadium full of students or online, means something to me,” said Joe Jonas, GRAMMY-nominated, multi-platinum artist. “I am thrilled with the impact this campaign has made. With something as simple as the click of a button, young people here at home got involved in making a difference, and now a student overseas will have the chance to change their life through education.”

School supplies will be donated to students in the countries where Free The Children implements Adopt a Village, a holistic and sustainable development model, including Kenya, Ecuador, rural China, Haiti, India, Nicaragua, Ghana and Sierra Leone. Through the education pillar of Adopt a Village, Free The Children builds schools, school rooms and libraries, provides teacher training, and outfits schools with furniture and basic school supplies. The pencils and notebooks donated through this initiative will be distributed to children in Free The Children schools. Programming is implemented in partnership with local government to create a lasting impact and empower community members to lift themselves out of poverty — forever.

“When young people join the We Day movement online, they become part of a global community committed to changing the world—a network that helps inspire them to take social action,” said Craig Kielburger, co-founder of Free The Children. “Thanks to support from IPG Mediabrands, and the legacy of Carlos Garcia who was a tireless champion for global humanitarian efforts, we are able to connect globally with young people who want to take that extra step to make a difference – whether it’s in their school or community, or opening the doors to education for a student halfway around the world.”

“We never cease to be amazed by the results of these campaigns, it is quite gratifying to see that our philanthropic efforts are paying off and most importantly that we have the power to positively impact the lives of millions of children in some of the most impoverished areas of the world,” said Mauricio Sabogal, Global CEO of Mediabrands’ agency BPN. “At IPG Mediabrands we are fully committed to using our strongest assets and expertise to bring attention to the most pressing issues affecting the world today.”

This year IPG Mediabrands built on the success of the “1 Like =$1” Facebook campaign of previous holiday seasons to drive more followers and donations to We Day, adding Twitter to this year’s efforts. In 2011, IPG Mediabrands obtained more than USD 30 MM in donated media space, reaching 2.4MM LIKES on Facebook, which converted into 2.4MM dollars donated to Free The Children programs. This year, sister IPG agencies around the world supported the campaign with local execution, adaptation and trafficking services.


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