Like stealing candy from a baby: the success of Junk Free June

There seems to be a month for everything now: Dry July, Movember, the Feb Fast and as of this year, Junk Free June. And perhaps there’s a reason for that, maybe they’re successful fundraisers because Kiwis like a challenge, and a month doesn’t seem like such a long time to kick the booze, not shave your dirty tache or hold back on the snacks (at least on paper). Whatever the allure is, it seems to work and as results have shown social-media campaign Junk Free June was a huge success raising well over its media spend and attracting thousands of social media followers and daily hits on its website. Here’s a rundown on the campaign.

Junk Free June, launched by the Cancer Society and the brainchild of Little Giant’s creative director Matt Clayton, was a month-long challenge urging New Zealanders to eat healthy and cut out sweets.

“The charity market is packed with people growing mustaches, going on famines, running round bays, pouring buckets of ice over their heads and everything in between. It’s becoming harder and harder to do something different that people respond to and get behind,” Clayton says.

“Global research shows that about a third of the most common cancers can be prevented through a nutritious diet, maintaining a healthy weight and regular physical activity, but that’s pretty boring right? I envisioned a charity that didn’t communicate in this medical, fact-based manner. I wanted to do something so vastly different in terms of brand positioning and communication that it had to be incorporated as its own charity, not just a fundraising campaign,” he says.

People typically know the stuff they eat which is crap, he says. “Educating people about healthy choices is the ultimate goal, but that comes later. The first step is engaging people and creating a conversation. That’s where Junk Free June shines and that’s where it will grow.”

Little Giant managed Junk Free June, created all brand assets, an interactive web platform and brought social media marketing company Socialites into the team to create, grow and run the social media communities on Facebook, Instagram and Twitter, a release says.

The website and social communities inspired and supported people wanting to eat healthier, and shared their recipes, stories and support with fellow members.

All digital roads led to a platform where supporters could donate to the Cancer Society or individual Junk Free June participants. To add to the fun of eating healthy, participants could unlock prizes from by increasing their donations.

Social influencers were also brought on as ambassadors, including: Millie Elder Holmes, cake-maker Jordan Rondel, Remix Magazine’s Tim Phin, TV presenter Amber Peebles, celebrity chef Nadia Lim, Jaime Ridge, Stan Walker and more.

People flocked to the social communities in droves. In the month of launch Junk Free June took the media by storm, gaining over 25,000 followers across social media platforms with a total media spend of just $7,000, a release says.

In June the website was reaching upwards of 130,000 hits per day. More importantly as a prototype for the Cancer Society to license internationally the campaign achieved a ROI of 6.9, more than double other comparable charities such as Dry July (2.5) and Daffodil Day (3.0), raising over $350,000 and with an estimated 25,000-plus Kiwis participating in the campaign, the release says.

The campaign also won a nod from last month’s #smcakls – the New Zealand Social Media Awards, getting a Highly Commended for the Most Effective Social Media campaign of the Year.

Teh release says with #junkfreejune being a trending topic Twitter, primetime coverage on national television news, numerous radio spots, print articles and other media circulating around, Junk Free June started with a very loud bang.

Socialites managing director Wendy Thompson says she puts the success down to the community-focused approach. “It’s a lot easier to ask people for something, especially money, if you’ve first built a strong community of people who are linked together by a common theme. In this case eating healthier. The conversation across social platforms over the month was fantastic and massive, our community management team were working like demons, we were our fans’ biggest cheerleaders in their mission to do Junk Free June. It’s an amazing feeling to be on the frontline of a campaign where we not only raised important funds but also helped a whole lot of people make positive health differences to their lives.”

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