Seven A.D.’s award-winning virtual experiences campaign sheds light on human trafficking

BrandRap Team

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Seven A.D.’s award-winning virtual experiences campaign sheds light on human trafficking
Called to Rescue and Seven A.D. illustrate the stories of human trafficking rescues through virtual escape rooms and Instagram stories

Editor’s note: This press release is sponsored by Seven A.D. and was handled by BrandRap, the sales and marketing arm of Rappler. No member of the news and editorial team participated in the publishing of this piece.

“The trill of a phone call alarms you and sets a carefully laid out plan in motion. Cautiously, you approach an abandoned warehouse barricaded by galvanized iron sheets and use your legs to heave and lift them out of your way, creating a path into the pitch black darkness. You stumble upon a window, break through it and enter. Once through, you are guided by the light from your torch, which brings you to a table, where you find a crumpled headshot of a fearful young girl.”

The snippet above describes the opening scenes of “The Call,” an interactive Instagram story series that takes its viewers through the rescue of a child forcefully abducted from her home to be part of the underground human trafficking scene rampant in the Philippines.

Over an estimated 1.2 million children are trafficked worldwide and from this glaring number, there are 60,000 to 100,000 children involved in prostitution rings in the Philippines. In the midst of this fight to end human trafficking and child abuse, non-profit organization Called to Rescue (CTR) lives up to its name by rescuing children who are involved in trafficking or are abused. The local chapter of CTR takes further steps to advance the awareness surrounding this advocacy by gamifying the organization’s mission, especially in observance of World Day Against Trafficking in Persons taking place on July 30.

In 2022, CTR Philippines tapped advertising agency Seven A.D. to tell the story and be the voice of thousands of unheard children through a digital campaign meant to intrigue and inform the public in platforms they spend most their time on. By gamifying the experience of rescuing a child in danger, the campaign aims to involve the public with what is the world’s second largest criminal operation. Aside from “The Call,” the two entities collaborated with Breakout Philippines to design an online escape room aptly called “The Escape.” This graphic experience lets players work together in order to save two child victims from a trafficker’s den. The immersive experience “The Escape” allows the next generation, who are particularly visual in how they consume media, to understand the impact of human trafficking in the country and how they can be part of the rescue mission.

The team behind Seven A.D. faced the challenge of not letting the message fall on deaf ears, as the purpose of the campaign was for the audience to feel involved and to desire to take action. Telling the story on social media allowed the audience to discover the advocacy in platforms they spend most of their time on. The campaign “The Call” may be found on Called to Rescue’s Instagram page, while “The Rescue” may be experienced through a dedicated webpage on the Breakout Philippines website.

When asked why Seven A.D. chose this experiential route, its CEO Teeny Gonzales says, “The biggest challenge was people’s indifference to the problem. Perhaps because of the lack of awareness of the gravity of the situation. So we felt that we needed to make people more aware of human trafficking and more importantly, aware of how they can help.”

The campaign proved to be effective in garnering attention, as CTR reported a 300% increase in fundraising results. Anthony Pangilinan, CTR Philippines’ president, lauds the campaign’s efficacy and its direct contribution to the cause. “Among contributors and influencers, the engagement and the pride in the programs and projects were at an all-time high in my 12 years as president,” he says.

“The unexpectedness of the approach proved effective in getting people’s attention. Plus the interactive component made them feel part of the cause,” shared Gonzales. “Placing the game on Instagram stories also allowed us to reach a younger audience who will hopefully be future advocates.”

Further testament to the campaign’s success are the campaign’s recognition from award-giving bodies. Most recently, the campaign was shortlisted at the New York Festival Advertising Awards under the categories “The G100 Inspiration Awards” and the “G100 Limitless Awards”, which both laud a campaign’s capacity to impact and inspire. In February 2023, Seven A.D. also took home coveted Gold, Silver and Bronze titles at the Kidlat Awards.

To play the escape room, visit  Breakout Philippines. To play “The Call, visit Called to Rescue’s Instagram page. To learn more about the campaign, visit sevenad.ph/ctr-campaign. To learn more about the Call to Rescue organization, visit https://www.calledtorescue.org – Rappler.com

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Seven A.D.

Coming from a humble start of 7 individuals, now 50 strong, 7AD takes pride in how they have grown within 13 years and is looking forward to expanding in the industry. Being the 4A’s Independent Agency of the Year for seven years in a row and handling more than 30 brands from various industry sectors, 7AD continues to produce bodies of work that show a knack for Pinoy insights.