.99 and LBC turn doing nothing into doing good with search for a cure

Earlier this year, Pedigree and Colenso BBDO tried to monetise slacktivism with Share for Dogs, a campaign that, as the name implies, asked people to watch videos of cute dogs and send them on so that a portion of the profit generated from the pre-roll advertising on each video could be shared with the charity. Now, extending a test campaign it ran last year, .99 and the Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand (LBC) have also created a way for Kiwis to help by doing, rather than paying. 

With around 27,000 charities in New Zealand all looking for cash, there’s plenty of competition for the charity dollar these days and plenty of creative ways to try and get more of them. searchforacure.co.nz is a slightly more passive income stream that can augment its other donation drives and it raises money by featuring a Google-powered search engine along with a few online ads. When the site is used to search the web, it generates a few cents for the charity. 

To launch the site, .99 created an online campaign featuring over 100 executions, including YouTube pre-rolls, Facebook video ads, sponsored Twitter posts and Pandora Radio ads, that showed how the most mundane search could help make a difference. The agency monitors trending topics each day, as evidenced by the Mariah Carey execution, and then pushes new executions live in real time, targeting those people who are more likely to be searching for that topic.  

Asked if this campaign was done in conjunction with Google, which looks like it would have to give up some of its revenue from these searches, .99 responded: “Google NZ are fully aware of the concept, so Google Sydney tried to help with their own Double Click for Publishers platform. But the platform couldn’t be used due to restrictions on our media partners’ [Spark PHD] programmatic buying platform.” 

Since its launch last week, .99 says the website has already garnered over 30,000 visits. And, as of today, $380 has been raised. 

“Each day millions of Kiwis are searching the web for answers to all sorts of weird and wonderful questions,” says Craig Whitehead, chief creative officer. “Now, thanks to this initiative, Googling a question like ‘whether it’s a social faux pas to attend the Mariah Carey concert?’ could now help fund blood cancer research.” 

Georgie Hackett, LBC communications manager, says one or two cents might not sound like a lot, but if everyone was to set it as their homepage, those cents would quickly turn into dollars “and over the course of a year those dollars can make a big difference to a lot of New Zealanders”. But she says the site is more than a fundraising tool for LBC.

“The wonderful thing about searchforacure.co.nz is that it does more than just raise money. By getting thousands of Kiwis to get this page as their homepage, it keeps us front of mind each and every day,” she says. 

The launch campaign runs until the end of this week, but the main site will continue to be live indefinitely. People wishing to set searchforacure.co.nz as their homepage can find simple instructions on the site. 

New Zealand seems to be a leader in the passive charity scene, with Little Lot (previously Donate Your Desktop) also giving people the opportunity to give to charity by being advertised to on their phone. 


Agency – .99

Craig Whitehead, Chief Creative Officer

Edward Bell, Senior Creative

Ryan MacPherson, Senior Creative

Morgan O’Reilly, Account Director

Greg MacKay, Developer

Soolim Sohn, Digital Designer

Vicki O’Leary, Head of TV

Liz Harvey, Executive Digital Producer

Rachel Haines Villalta, Digital Producer

Colin Rebairo, Digital Planner

Client – Leukaemia & Blood Cancer New Zealand

Pru Etcheverry, Chief Executive Officer

Georgie Hackett, Communications Manager


Troy Blackman, Digital Assistant

Ivan Atkins, Digital Director

Media agency – Spark PHD

About Author

Comments are closed.