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Getting the world's to-do list 'done' | #BehindTheIdea

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We all love to-do lists and post-it notes. Ticking a box and binning a sticky give us great satisfaction – so why shouldn't we look at the UN's Global Goals like a gigantic to-do list for the world?

This was the idea behind one of the latest Karmarama campaigns, in partnership with Project United – a charity operating to promote the UN's 17 Global Goals. In a world-spanning series of shots, the short film by Karmarama shows 17 sticky notes hanging from skyscrapers, the Pyramids of Giza and more from the globe's top locations, highlighting the importance of following our world's "to-do list" to ensure a better future.

Today we are getting Behind the Idea with Rachel Holding and Dan Leppänen (creatives) from the Karmarama team to learn more about this unique campaign below.

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What was the brief?

We like to joke that the brief was to ‘save the world’. But it wasn’t far off.

In 2015, 193 world leaders signed up to The Global Goals. A list of 17 priorities we need to address by 2030 to ensure we can create a just, sustainable planet and way of life for everyone. But 6 years in, we haven’t made nearly enough progress.

We were tasked to raise awareness and understanding of The Global Goals in a critical year that needs action and engagement. 2020 proved that we can change the world overnight if we’re willing. It’s simply a lack of action that prevents things changing for the better. 

We needed an idea that could bring everyone together – citizens, brands and businesses, and world leaders – to create unmatched progress towards the goals in 2021.

No pressure.

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

With a lot of talk of sloths. And Cornish pasties. 

We had lots of ideas. But ultimately, we knew it wasn’t enough to simply remind the world that The Goals existed, we needed people to feel like they could actively do something about them – that if we work together, saving the world can be as easy as remembering to buy milk. 

And what better thing to use than something synonymous with to-do lists and action? A sticky note.

Tell us more about the concept. How did it come to life, and why was it the right choice?

The idea of sticky notes and the World’s To-Do List happened quite early on – Project Everyone often referred to the Global Goals as a ‘To-Do List’, and it was a piece of language that stuck with us. We loved the link between the sticky notes and the Global Goals logo (the colour wheel) too. Over time our thinking shifted and changed, but the sticky note idea, well, stuck

By using sticky notes, we could take all the problems, and all the solutions, and reduce them down to something brutally simple. Suddenly, these 17 big, amorphous priorities are immediate actions ready to be taken. They are The World’s To-Do List.

But a to-do list for the world was no good stuck on a fridge door, it needed to be stuck somewhere everyone would see it. On the world itself. So we asked brands and businesses to step up and show the world that The Goals must come first, by sacrificing their media spaces, and allowing us to use their buildings, websites, and social accounts as pinboards to stick our ‘To-Do list’ on. 

What was the production process like? What was the biggest challenge?

Because it’s a global campaign, the production process was quite complex. We needed to rally lots of different brands and businesses around an idea that was still at concept stage, to ensure we could create an impactful launch.  (And asking brands to cover their logos was never going to be a walk in the park either). 

But the biggest challenge is one we’re still facing: getting the sticky notes onto big buildings around the world. 

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during the production of the campaign?

It’s not every day that you have Richard Curtis as a client. The first time we presented The World’s To-Do List idea to Richard, he showed us his sticky note to-do list for the day. Thankfully he managed to slot us in between Julia Roberts and Prince William.

What’s the main message of the campaign and why does it matter?

We need to remind world leaders, and the public, that the world has a to-do list, and together we can get the World’s To-Do List done.

What is one unique aspect of the campaign?

That moment you realise that the whole world is your demographic.

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

Roughly 1.5 years, but this is just the start

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

To raise awareness of The Global Goals so the public start holding world leaders to account for the promises they made when they agreed to the Goals in 2015. We need to see real action and we need it quickly.

Credit list for the campaign?

Agency: Karmarama CEO - Ben Bilboul, Business Lead - Eilidh McGregor, Account Director - Sophie Jackson, Senior Planner - Max Richards, Executive Creative Director - Adam Kean, Creative team - Rachel Holding & Daniel Leppänen, TV producer - Carol Oakley, Creative Producer - Christina Lambrou, Head of Design - Simon Wakeman, Artworkers - Sam Coyle & Dipesh Soni 

Client: Project Everyone Founders – Richard Curtis, Kate Garvey, Gail Gallie, Creative Director – Hannah Cameron, Business Director – Jon Hales

Launch Film Production: Nineteen Twenty Director - Ludo Fealy, Colour Grade - Kai Van Beers, 2D artist - Jamie Stitson, Producer - Isabella Hunt-Davis, Post Producer - Ondrej Faltin 

Launch Film Sound: 750 mph Sound Engineers - Mike Bovill, Michalis Anthis

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