July 18, 2019

Saving lives through Advertising

Persuading a hardened guerrilla to lay down his arms might seem a task best left to politicians and NGOs. For the last few years Lowe & Partners have been instructed by the Colombian Ministry of Defence to do just that.

The current adverts, part of a wider campaign, are set to remind guerrillas that they too are sons, brothers and fathers. They are designed to realign sympathies with their previous domestic environment, laying down arms in the process.

So how do you create a campaign targeting such an unknown audience? Well, interestingly, you still perform a range of market research to understand this challenging group as much as possible. Working with the Ministry of Defence, Lowe & Partners interviewed a number of former guerrillas to understand what would be important to them.

When students think about marketing or advertising, they often think of very obvious brands and campaigns. If you are an interviewer this can be boring. Understanding the obvious as well as the niche can really help you stand out. There are specialist marketing firms that target low-income households, business-to-business, emerging markets, developing nations and even war zones. Even if you don’t work for them understanding the principles involved will help. This is known as “commercial awareness” – it’s about developing knowledge about the sector you wish to work in.

So how did I find out about this campaign? A recent trip to Colombia? No. It was on BBC Radio 4’s flagship Today news programme. Listening to this programme regularly will help you develop your commercial and current affairs awareness.

We recorded the piece on Lowe & Partners and you can download it here.

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