UN Turns to Social Media for Human Rights Day

Fantasy Interactive's Carpi on Creating the Global Digital Presence

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To celebrate Human Rights Day Dec. 10, the United Nations is planning a global digital and social media campaign -- the first time it has used social media to mark this annual global event.

Here, Stephen Carpi, global director of production for Fantasy Interactive, discusses the campaign, "Celebrate Human Rights Day," which his agency helped create. The effort, which will be unveiled Dec. 2, is designed to "inform, connect, engage, celebrate and share Human Rights Day with people around the world."

Ad Age : Tell us about the campaign you're launching?

Stephen Carpi: This was a collaboration between Lowe +Partners, Lowe Bangkok and Fantasy Interactive. The project's main goal is to use digital and social media to celebrate Human Rights Day, which takes place on Dec. 10 globally.

The UN wanted to use digital and social media to inform, connect, engage, celebrate and share something as basic as human rights with people of all ages and nationalities. One thing that was very important to the UN throughout this project was to focus on maintaining an upbeat and festive tone. They didn't want to go the route of scaring or saddening people into supporting the campaign.

Ad Age : How did Fantasy Interactive get involved?

Carpi: Lowe + Partners approached us because they had seen our work, and felt our passion and creativity were what this campaign needed. When we first learned about it, we knew it was something unique and amazing. It's not just that it's a social cause we believe in or that it's the United Nations, but it's this notion that community involvement is not just about protests or hunger strikes. It's about letting people use technology and digital innovation to do something real and definitive to change the world. That's why we got involved.

Ad Age : This is the first time that the UN has used social media to mark Human Rights Day. How did this come about?

Carpi: Historically, nonprofits like the UN have used traditional methods to gain traction or raise awareness for their causes. Social media has become part of mainstream communications, and it's important to leverage the benefits it brings. Through social engagement, we empower users to actively advocate for a cause instead of passively consuming information. Social networks have impact at the global level, as communities of like-minded people work cohesively to raise awareness.

Ad Age : Do you think the addition of social media will make a difference in how Human Rights Day is perceived around the world as well as here in the U.S.?

Carpi: From an awareness standpoint, this campaign will be exposed to a vast number of people who may not have traditionally known that Dec. 10 is Human Rights Day. We want people to see this as a global initiative, not something with disparate messaging for U.S. and international audiences. The social media model itself is proof that we're not limited by geography. People living in the U.S. who have friends in Japan will feel just as connected to the experience as those living in Japan with friends in India. Regardless of where you are, every single person who engages with the campaign has the power to expose the human rights message to the world, not just to their local community.

Ad Age : Will the campaign extend beyond Human Rights Day?

Carpi: The big push for awareness and interaction will be the days leading up to Human Rights Day on Dec. 10. However, we will continue to drive interaction even after that day. Though Human Rights Day will have passed, the sentiment will and must continue. Every day should be Human Rights Day.

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