By Tooba Zaheer Sheikh

There is a popular phrase that ‘curiosity killed the cat’, but in this case curiosity or QRiosity might save a child.

Missing Children Argentina came up with a creative way to make parents realize how many children go missing on a daily basis. According to research, every day, at least 3 children go missing in Argentina, yet no concerns were raised by the parents.

QRiosity is an initiative which focuses on ground activity combined with social media. Large blocks with a QR code were placed at random places in parks. Visitors were curious as to what was behind the codes.

A quick scan with a smart phone directed them to a picture of a missing child, and a plea to help find him/her. The QR codes sure got the parents’ QRious’. The realization hit hard, and almost 5000 people responded; People who weren’t concerned before.

The main targets for this campaign were parents, to make them realize that somewhere out there, there are many couples whose child has gone missing. The intention was to create awareness and accelerate the search by involving other parents.

The campaign is a brilliant use of something simple like a QR code and something as common as a smart phone. Consumer engagement is a sure shot way of generating buzz, and that’s exactly what the campaign achieved – word of mouth and positive response.

Many organizations have undertaken the responsibility to make the world a better place, through their CSR initiatives.

Missing Children is not the only organization to utilize a simple tool to gain word of mouth. BBDO has been doing the same with roadside boards, converting them to beds for labors at night and a billboard by the day.

Telenor initiated Open Mind project to encourage equal employment opportunities for disabled members of the society and provides training to such people.

Pakistan has seen its share of such initiatives, but they have been far and few. BBDO has been quoted above, Unilever has CSR (Corporate Social Responsibility) initiatives, and so do many other brands. Pakistan needs to go a long way – in terms of literacy and civic sense – before initiatives like Missing Children will be successful on a mass level.

A campaign dealing with social issues does come like a breath of fresh air in the usual singing and dancing routines we see in advertisements. In fact, more marketers should try to integrate at least one activity, for the betterment of society, in their campaigns, to give back some good to the society they are profiting from.

I am looking forward to socially responsible advertising from the seasoned advertisers and marketers, along with the traditional ways of promoting their product.

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