Sugar & Partners’ first campaign for World Vision asks ‘What if?’

In its first piece of work for World Vision since winning the not-for-profit’s account at the end of last year, Sugar & Partners has released a new campaign that enables Kiwis to contribute capital to the entrepreneurial endeavours of people living in disadvantaged circumstances throughout the world.

Launched via a series of billboards that pose the question ‘What if the next Richard Branson, [Mark Zuckerberg, Larry Ellison or Trelise Cooper] couldn’t afford to start up his [or her]business?’, the campaign serves to remind viewers that even the most successful people needed that initial investment to get their ideas off the ground. 

Rather than using actors in the billboards, Sugar & Partners instead used images of real people that Kiwis can support through donations. Each person depicted on the billboards also has an online profile detailing the entrepreneurial project that funds are required for, and interested Kiwis can donate directly toward this cause.    

So, in this sense, the campaign is given a personal element, which is far removed from the usual practice of sending money to a faceless organisation.

Interestingly, the campaign isn’t just based on the premise of giving a simple handout; it is instead structured like a micro loan, which requires the receiver of the donation to pay the money back to World Vision once the business becomes sustainable. The not-for-profit organisation will then recycle the funds back into the community by financially backing another hopeful entrepreneur.       

An explanatory video on the micro-loaning campaign has been embedded on the World Vision site alongside the profiles of a number of entrepreneurs that Kiwis can support through their donations.  

“Once you understand Micro it is an amazing way to help people help themselves out of poverty. Using famous entrepreneurs and asking ‘what if’ was the simplest way to articulate ‘why micro’ and illustrate the impact you can make,” says Dave Nash, creative director at Sugar&Partners.

In addition to the celebrities that feature in the explanatory video, Dame Trelise Cooper, whose name has been used on the billboards, has also backed the campaign, and she was particularly impressed by how effectively it empowers women. 

“Female disempowerment is acknowledged and recognised worldwide as a particular challenge faced by the vulnerable women and girls in the developing world. Microfinance is a pathway for them to lead independent financial lives where they alleviate poverty,” says Cooper.

The campaign will be promoted mainly through highly targeted digital media channels, supported by direct marketing —both mail and EDM—and, to build further awareness, the billboards will run in the Auckland CBD area.

“The work we’ve developed … will help us tell the story in a clear and concise way, deliver greater understating of Micro and lead to a higher level of support,” says Paul Goldsmith, the World Vision Micro product manager.

Although Sugar & Partners has added a Kiwi flavour by introducing the range of billboards and launching the video, the micro-loan campaign has been running internationally for approximately three years. 



World Vision

Head of Marketing – Helen Carter
Micro Product & Brand Manager – Paul Goldsmith
Digital Producer – Matthew Barker
Developer – Allan Goveas


Creative Directors – Dave Nash & Damon O’Leary
Creatives – Dan Nelson, Gen Chunn
Head of Design – Hamish McArthur
Digital Art Director – Vikki Cheng
Designer – Gary Butcher
Group Account Directors – Jamie McLean & Dennis Carroll
Head of Planning – Tania Stevenson
Digital Project Manager – Kate Ferriman 


Deb Brown – Media Director

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