As the 2015 deadline for the United Nations Millennium Development Goals (MDGs) approached, a post-2015 agenda had to be established. The UN resolved to give young people from all over the world the power to influence the formation of development goals for the next 15 years via an online crowdsourcing platform that would culminate in the Global Youth Summit.
Despite this unprecedented decision to involve young people in UN decision-making, there was a lack of engagement with the initiative. On behalf of the UN , the International Telecommunications Union (ITU) approached our team at Studio Banana with the challenge of identifying the problem and searching for a perfectly tailored solution.
Our strategy to achieve an effective call-to-action meant turning the United Nations’ traditional approach to communication upside down We needed to make it clear young people were being given a voice instead of world leaders.
A generation of digital natives reacted with incredible positivity to our call. 4000 participants from five continents came together to create a manifesto presented at the UN General Assembly.
The United Nations reaches out
In 2013, the UN reassessed their long-term goals to be adopted officially in 2015 as the renewed version of the iconic MDGs. As an integral part of this vision they wanted to secure the involvement of a younger generation.
In pursuit of greater youth involvement, the UN organised a three-part campaign; a crowdsourcing platform, a global youth summit, and a youth manifesto to be presented to world leaders at the UN General Assembly.
So why aren’t young people talking?
The ITU approached Studio Banana in search of a way to increase youth engagement on the crowdsourcing platform. Our team pinpointed the need for a call-to-action that would reflect the preferences and sensibilities of the demographic. We knew that engaging a generation of digital natives would require the use of an appealing campaign that spoke to young people all over the world.
Ideation & Design
Fostering a conversation about a global connected future
We designed a contemporary, light-hearted campaign, including a promotional video. To create the look and feel of being made by and for young people, we had to reimagine the UN’s image. We also had to create a message that spoke to approximately three billion young people around the world.
We were confident in our knowledge of the target and our ability to speak their language. We were also sure to use a voice that resonated with the younger generation. To ensure a natural, youthful flow, we selected a UN intern whose voice brought our vision to life.
An inspirational message of empowerment
Our first challenge involved empowering and motivating a generation that has felt overlooked or unimportant to institutions like the UN. We needed to reach out to this group on their terms, inviting them to have a seat at the table and contribute to a conversation about the future of humanity. The tone we were looking for was positive and uplifting in order to inspire a generation to speak up and leave their mark.
With the video, we also wanted to emphasise the remarkably interactive element of this campaign. Today’s information and communication technology allows us to participate from wherever we are, andprovides a deeply democratic way for individuals to collaborate.
The perfect format for aspirational young messages
The promotional video was central to the campaign. To best connect with the target and inspire young people to get involved in the project, we opted for animation. This allowed us to communicate the message in an unintrusive, fun way that was at once inspirational and thought-provoking. A simple aesthetic was used to provide a blank slate as a jumping off point for the ideas of future leaders.
Coming through loud and clear: impact, engagement and ideas
The effect of the video was instantaneous. The youth-centric focus had a huge impact on the website traffic and on participation itself. Following the remarkable reception of the BYND 2015 video, the ITU invited us to the Global Youth Summit as inspirational keynote speakers. We were also asked to participate in the conference hackathon and put together the final collaborative manifesto video which was presented at the 68th General Assembly at the UN in New York City.
In essence, this project sparked a global dialogue by telling a simple story that empowered hundreds of thousands of young people to stand up and be heard.