2020 Digital Awareness-Raising Campaign for the Emergency Social Safety Network (ESSN)


How do we create empathy for people who have had to flee conflict? How do we engage an audience tired of talking about a decade long war and millions of people impacted by it?

Together with SOCIAL SOCIAL Berlin, the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) developed this social media-first awareness and perception change campaign that reached every corner of the EU as well as Turkey. The goal was to break down the narrative of refugees as helpless victims, and instead give them agency and create an exchange on eye-level. To do this, Syrians living in Turkey were digitally paired with international creators sharing their individual passions, creating videos that moved millions across Europe.

The #PowerToBe campaign follows four passionate Syrians – Hiba, a musician, Eslam, an illustrator, Ibrahim, a swimmer and Mohammed, a coffee lover – who are regaining control of their lives through the help of the Emergency Social Safety Net (ESSN) programme conducted by the (IFRC) and the European Union, which provides monthly cash assistance 1.5 million people in Turkey.

The content was played out in a large-scale international paid social media and influencer campaign, targeting the Moveable Middle – an aware and distinctly un-extreme audience with the potential to shift towards a more positive outlook on refugees. The Moveable Middle and their passions permeated the entire campaign; we selected conceptual routes, content creators, beneficiaries, and media channels in order to connect this audience with the real-life stories of humans pursuing their individual passions.