From November 12 through December 31, One Laptop Per Child ran a charitable campaign in North America called the Give One Get One. It was simple. Buy two of OLPC’s XO laptops (often called the $100 laptop) for $399 U.S. dollars and you get one; while the second is shipped to a child in a developing country.
The campaign is a case study on the effectiveness of public relations in building awareness, creating consumer demand and driving action. OLPC is a non-profit organization and couldn’t afford a fancy advertising campaign to spread the word about G1G1. So they turned to Racepoint Group.
We have been working with OLPC for more than a year — doing pro bono communications work. But the G1G1 campaign was different. The public relations campaign we created for G1G1 would be augmented by a small (but very creative) advertising campaign (publications and broadcasters agreed to run these ads and short videos as public service announcements). But we were primarily on our own in building awareness and driving traffic to the G1G1 web site where consumers would be able to purchase the amazing XO laptops.
We had already done a remarkable job in media relations for OLPC — but now we were tasked with directly impacting sales. We had to move beyond the core technology and business writers and focus on consumer press. The goal of G1G1 was to reach consumers — directly. There was the added difficulty that consumers could only buy the XO in one place — a web site built by OLPC. Consumers wouldn’t be able to go to a store to look at, touch, or play with the XO. In fact, we wouldn’t even be able to tell them exactly when they would receive their XOs.
A difficult challenge, indeed.
But our campaign generated thousands of articles and broadcasts — from a feature in People magazine to appearances on “Good Morning, America” and FOX-TV and hundreds of blog posts. For the month of December — OLPC was everywhere. The results speak for themselves. OLPC sold more than 160,000 XO laptops and raised more than $35 million dollars.
Proof that when public relations is done right — it can create a powerful impact.