Walkie Talkie

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621 Drowned

‘Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen’ or Flemish Refugee Action is an independent, non-governmental organization that defends the rights and interests of refugees and asylum seekers. The organization focuses on raising awareness for their situation, while broadening the social support base and influencing public opinion.

In mid June 2021,creative agency mortierbrigade reached out to Walkie Talkie for PR support for an activation planned July 1st (the start of summer holidays).

Exactly 621 sand sculptures in human-shaped forms covered with white bath towels laid in formation on the beach of Zeebrugge – symbolizing migrants who drowned in the first quarter of 2021 in the Mediterranean Sea. The stunt was aimed at denouncing European migration policy and urged Belgium and the EU to come up with humane solutions to the refugee issue.

A couple of challenges

This PR story presented us with some challenges: how can we pitch such a delicate and politicized topic to general news media? How can we generate media interest for a stunt that will happen at dawn (with visual assets only available some hours before, late at night)? And could we activate French-speaking media too?

Our PR team tackled this project by proactively reaching out to national media ahead of receiving visual assets and highlighting tangible solutions for Belgian policy makers -giving the sinister scene on Zeebrugge Beach a call to action. We sent the visual assets in the late evening, as soon as we received them from mortierbrigade.

The PR result? On-site interviews with both regional and national radio & TV, a cover for Metro in both the French and Dutch version, about 40 qualitative clippings reaching over €300.000 in ad value. And, most importantly, Flemish Refugee Action getting the attention it deserves.

  • Position Vluchtelingenwerk Vlaanderen as a thought-leader in a touchy and politicised topic: migration policy
  • Press relations for a non-governmental society organisation
  • Management of embargoed content – press release, photos and videos towards on- and offline press
  • Guiding media interviews on-site
  • Copywriting