ANTWERP, BELGIUM — To mark the 21st International Missing Children’s Day, Wunderman Thompson and Belgian charity Child Focus have launched a striking new campaign built around a website that can only be kept alive by the general public — just like the collective hope for the return of missing children.
The new website launched on International Missing Children’s Day, May 25. Created by Wunderman Thompson Antwerp, its moving portraits of missing children demonstrate exactly what happens when those children disappear from the public eye: they gradually fade from view.
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Based on the number of visitors to the website and the number of missing person notices that get shared by using its “share now” button, the portraits of seven children, all of whom have been missing for years, will either fade or become more visible.
Wunderman Thompson’s campaign appeals to all of us to keep visiting the website. Every visit and shared missing person notice helps keep the faces visible and attracts new visitors. Child Focus also has support from a team of influencers who are mobilizing their followers to visit the website.
Every year Child Focus, the Belgian charity for missing and sexually exploited children, handles some 2,000 files on child disappearances. In 95% of cases, the child in question is found quickly, but a number of disappearances in Belgium remain unsolved. The general public sometimes writes off long-term cases as hopeless, but Child Focus, and the children’s loved ones, will never abandon hope of making a breakthrough.
French illustrator Nabil Nezzar converted the original pictures from the children’s missing persons notices into lifelike, hand-drawn portraits. The sight of the pictures fading and building provokes an emotional response to the website, which encourages people to think and share.
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Inevitably public attention for the website will decrease after a while but according to Wunderman Thompson Creative Director Kasper Janssens that is precisely the strength of the campaign: “Keep Hope Alive acts as a lasting motivator to keep hope for missing children alive. And if the day does come that the children fade entirely, website visitors will instead see a relevant message that will motivate them to rekindle that hope, however small it may seem at the time.”
The campaign runs across social media, on digital billboards, bearing the line “don’t let missing children disappear” to remind people that as long as we keep thinking about these children, we keep hope alive.
The children featured on the site are Liam Vanden Branden, Nathalie Geijsbregts, Théo Hayez, Antoine Plomteux, Ken Heyrman, Vincent Lamouris and Gevriye Cavas.
View the campaign on https://keephopealive.be/en.