BBDO Pakistan, a local advertising, PR and activations agency recently made headlines worldwide. Their social media campaign, ‘Not a Bug Splat’, was awarded the Bronze Lion in the ‘Direct’ group for their collaboration with Reprieve/Foundation for Fundamental Rights at the International Festival for Creativity in Cannes – the Oscars of advertising.
According to local media reports, the campaign #NotABugSplat aims to humanize the devastating effects of drone strikes in the Northern areas of Pakistan. BBDO Pakistan was nominated in four groups over the Promo, Activation and Direct, and won in the latter.
‘Bug Splat’ is a term drone operators use to refer to casualties when one of their strikes hits a target. The agency teamed with local artists in tactfully installing a large photo of a village girl who lost her entire family in a single drone strike. The hope is that the sight would appeal to the human nature of the operator causing him to remove his thumb away from the trigger when he sees it on the big-screen.
As part of French artist JR’s ‘Inside Out’ movement, the idea behind the initiative was to ensure the image is clearly visible to drone operators and satellites surveying the region.
#NotABugSplat has become an internet sensation and has since been featured across a variety of global networks including Time magazine, CNN, the Huffington Post and the BBC. The campaign also attracted the attention of Pakistan’s National Assembly as well as activists in Yemen and the United States.
The campaign has thus far reportedly earned over $2 million with at least 115 million views globally.
This magnanimous feat is a matter of great pride for all Pakistanis and the creative genius behind the noble initiative. And the most interesting part… It all started with a hash tag!