With a tiny budget to tackle an enormous challenge, we had to come up with an idea so creative it could live on its own. If Islam was being misconstrued for being violent and Muslims were treated as a travel threat, merely claiming the opposite would’ve never sufficed. For our idea to be impactful, we needed evidence from the Islamic religion itself that could travel the world to spread the word when Muslims couldn’t.
The idea was powerfully simple: transform passports from a means for discrimination into a message of peace.
Accordingly, we looked into The Quran, Islam’s Holy Book, as the sole source and true bearer of the essence of this religion, for verses that relay tolerance and acceptance. These verses (in English) would be beautifully transformed into passport holders and would be known as the Skins of Peace.
Partnering with Facebook, we launched on Amnesty International’s social pages under #SkinsofPeace. This meant a series of content pieces ranging from explaining the situation to promoting the campaign and “how-to” tutorials. All the content drove people to the campaign website to entice downloads. Simultaneously, leather samples of the passport cover designs were sent to influencers to expand our message further.
We collated +700 A4 designs from 83 countries. These were a variety of Arabesque, modern, calligraphy, geometric and illustration styles. Working with world-renowned origami artist Robert Lang, we developed a painfully easy 4-step fold that turns any of them into sturdy passport covers. To generate more buzz and establish relevancy, we launched our campaign on December 18th, International Migrants Day. Over the span of 1 month, we released short format tutorials and posts to drive downloads. Offline, we made the passport covers available at travel agencies, airports and Islamic Centers.
SkinsofPeace.com registered thousands of daily visitors. Content films recorded +45 million impressions and posts received a 120% higher engagement rate than any previous Amnesty International post. Design downloads to date exceeded 250,000 in 2 months. This was aided by the overwhelming global media exposure the idea received: Arabian Marketer, Creativity Online, Culture Pub, Ads of the World, Communicate, The Drum’s round-up for the most creative work and Campaign’s Top 30 Campaigns for 2017 to name a few helped garner international coverage in many languages to expose and mobilize even more people around this cause. Online listening reports registered more than 90% positive sentiment around the world. The Skins of Peace became so popular, we ended up producing larger quantities to be sold on Souq.com with the proceeds going to the “No Ban, No Wall” program. Most importantly however, we got our message of tolerance to the world: Islam is peace.
The Skins of Peace campaign idea could've never worked without the game-changing strategy that was implemented. Because we had many layers to overcome we had to approach in a very organized and well-planned manner.
Social media, along with some traditional media, were utilized to launch the crowdsourcing phase of the campaign. Then, the launch of the campaign targeting the public to download using a long format film that is emotional and engaging while utilizing short format content pieces on various social media platform as tutorials to make the whole process as seamless as possible for people to take part.
Insights, Strategy and the Idea
Because we’re targeting a vast demographic and an even more varying psychographic audience across the globe, we didn’t want this to be a “for-us, by-us strategy.” And because we sought inclusion, we wanted to practice what we preached. The designs themselves would be crowdsourced from across the world as a per-stage for the campaign. From a communication standpoint, we had to cover 2 pillars: awareness and education. The former to spread the campaign and the latter to explain the actual use of the Skins. From a media standpoint, while online would be the main medium, we were keen to complement it with offline presence to allow people convenient accessibility at relevant touchpoints.
This holistic approach guaranteed that our idea would have no home or owner, but instead would exist everywhere and take on a life of its own while enabling Muslims and non-Muslims alike to take part.