Written by Toril Natvig – Photos by Pål Roe Sundsøy – Edited by Catherine Pettersson
Gørill has suggested that we meet nearby her office. She arrives in a hurry. With her long, blond hair and bright smile she is what we would call a typical Norwegian Synnøve Solbakken look-alike and a true Scandinavian beauty. That doesn´t seem to affect her much and at least not to stop her from being a serious professional with a CV longer and more interesting than most people would ever dream of.
We meet at lunchtime but she takes only a double cappuccino as we sit down in the lobby of Vulkan Bar in the Eastern part of central Oslo. A location known for its trendy cafés and bars and where creative start-up companies flourish.
Apart from her apperance what is it that makes her the person that she is? I had set off to meet Gørill Husby More, former Director of Media and Communications CARE and Plan Norway, and now PR advisor for Trigger, in Oslo to find out more about the woman behind the #stoptheweddingcamapign. A camapaign run by Plan Norway to put child marriages on the public agenda and to stop them! If you haven´t seen the camapign: it´s arresting. To highlight the problem of young girls marrying much older men, the campaign created a fake blog showcasing a 12-year old Scandinavian girl, Thea, as she planned to marry a 37-year old husband. Click here to see film from the campaign.
The campaign went viral and only a few hours after launching had over 1 million visits and generated attention in media and social media. That meant that the message reached not only Norwegians but was also seen in Bangladesh, Niger, Malawi (countries where the practise is widespread) and every country in the world, and was covered in the news in the UK and America. In total, #stoptheweddingcampaign by Plan Norway and Trigger garngered a reach of 1 billion in less than a month´s time.
“We know that our message reached parents that were considering marrying off their under-aged daughters”
When Gørill started to work on the campaign there were several things that were important to her. She knew that what they planned to do with the online production of the content was outside of the organization´s comfort zone. Although the underlying message was the same as from the previous year´s campaign the channels chosen for this year´s camapign were unique and done in close collaboration with Trigger. More time and effort was put into creative content, budget was moved from traditional advertising to social media and Thea´s blog, and a paper on child marriages was presented at an international conference.
As a leader of the overall management of the camapign, Gørill knew that her most important role would be to make Plan employees feel engaged in the campaign and that they were all in this together. She met with employees on all levels several times during the planning of the campaign and sent out information to everyone from the receptionist to the managing director. When the campaign was launched it was new and controversial but also something that Plan employees felt proud of and supported. That was an important learning and insight to take away as a manager.
“When you do campaigns like this it is important to let the employees feel that they are part of it – and we managed to do that!”
What surprises the most is the low budget that the camapign had. According to Gørill it was just above 3 mill NOK which is considered small for a campaign with the reach and impact it got. How was that even possible?
It turned out to be a well-choreographed campaing where blog, twitter, and a paper at an international conference provided perfect timing for the campaign to spread virally and make the amount spent on traditional advertising more effective. The visual expression was the same in all channels and the character Thea played a central role in engaging Norwegians to take action. Even the prime minister got inspired and talked about child marriages on national TV.
“We chose to spend less on traditional advertising and more on the creative content – and we used blog, twitter and an international conference in Oslo to get our message across”
It takes courage, drive, and knowledge to be able to conduct a campaign like this so well and it is not the first time that Gørill proves that she has courage and knowledge. At the beginning of her career she worked as a journalist and wrote articles for several international news outlets, including TIME magazine in Africa – a job she did so well that she became Time Magazine´s correspondent in Nairobi in her early 20s. TIME Magazine had two correspondets in Africa at that time. One in Nairobi and the other in Johannesburg. Her work as a journalist went well and when she applied for the open senior position in Nairobi – she got it!
Many years later, and with two kids aged 4 and 8, Gørill is now juggling her professional and family life. With a new job as pr advisor for trigger.no she shares the work with family and children with her English husband and plans her days so that she works on the boat communting from Nesodden to Oslo every day.
- The campaign consisted of two parallell campaigns: #stoppbryllupet and #stopthewedding. The Norwegian hashtag #stoppbryllupet was the one that generated most attention and reach
- The underlying message from the campaign was girls rights to education
- Plan wanted to convey a message which engaged people into action by talking both to heart and mind
- Plan told a compelling and moving story through creative content
- Trigger and Plan created authentic and credible content for social media
- Thea´s blog invites readers into her world as she plans her own fictional wedding – which is a child marriage where Thea 12 marries a 37 year old man
- The blog also presents stories told by real child brides around the world
- National and international media, blogs, twitter, and other social media channels all covered the same message and people got involved to help stop the wedding