In these dark and divisive times, it’s becoming increasingly common for people to take to social media to bemoan the failings of their political, economic, and social landscape. With these platforms so easily accessible, everyone’s Twitter, Facebook, and Instagram becomes a virtual soapbox. But aside from exercising personal demons and filling us with the warm smug glow, what good does this online catharsis actually do? If everyone knows that actions speak louder than words, then what’s this “slacktivism” really achieving?

No stranger to provocative, attention-grabbing campaigns, Amnesty International is attempting to incite concrete action by harnessing the power of social media. Targeting people who’ve expressed their disgust at the refugee crisis and made their political opinions heard on Twitter, the real-time social media campaign offers them a response, urging them to do more.

At the end of January, @amnesty sent out messaging imploring people to “tweet their outrage” using the hashtag #IWelcome. When people responded, they were served with a personal video response from refugees around the world, giving thanks for the love and support, but making it clear that “outrage is not enough.”

“You must take action. That is the message real refugees will be sending directly to ‘slacktivist’ tweeters around the world.” – Mick Mahoney, CCO, Ogilvy & Mather London

Using film crews on the ground in Kenya and Lebanon and an Ogilvy & Mather team stationed in London, the videos were able to be sent out in real-time to ensure maximum emotional impact. Whether it was Heba from Lebanon’s Shatila camp or Oscar from Kenya’s Kakuma camp telling their individual stories, the heartfelt message was the same.

Instead of empty cries of concern voiced over the internet, one after another, the refugees asked tweeters to sign a global petition calling on the UN and governments around the world to act together to tackle the global refugee crisis.

Created by Simon Lotze and Miguel Nunes at Ogilvy with production by Magnum Photos, the social campaign has already been effectively converting public outrage into tangible support since it launched last week. Mick Mahoney, Chief Creative Officer at Ogilvy & Mather London, said: “It’s not enough to tweet your outrage at the appalling treatment of the world’s refugees. You must take action. That is the message real refugees will be sending directly to ‘slacktivist’ tweeters around the world.”

Regardless our political position or agenda, we are often blinded by distance and lack of empathy, so much so that simply sending out a message of support online feels like a good, altruistic deed. Harnessing the power of creative thinking and technology for social good, #TakeAction is waking people up to the hypocrisy of social preaching, without backing up your empty words with solid, tangible action.

It’s easy to align yourself with a cause online, but it’s also easy to sign a petition that may have a real effect on the way our governments deal with wider issues on a whole. Whilst #TakeAction can’t promise dramatic and immediate results, it’s important to realise the power individuals can have when they club together for a cause.

But perhaps the most important thing that #TakeAction highlights is that everybody appears to have a voice, except those that need to be heard the most.


Campaign: #TakeAction

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, London

Brand: Amnesty International

Image: Campaign Live