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  • Ann-Christin Korsing

Charity Gives Impulse for Period Emoji


Charities and non-profit organisations are under more pressure than ever before. The market competition can be high and they need to defend every step along the way, in order to gain trust and to avoid shitstorms. The organisations need to explain how their work benefits a specific target group (may it be humans or animals), need to defend how their budget is spent as well as doing an effort to set themselves apart from competitors.


A British relief agency which ended up with “Bloody brilliant” PR news on The Guardian today is Plan International UK. The charity, which stands up for rights and equality for girls worldwide, started the campaign #periodemoji in 2017 in order to "to help break down the silence, stigma and taboos surrounding periods" (Plan International UK, 2019).


And they seem to have hit a nerve:


55,000 British supporters were convinced that a period emoji should be added to the global emoji keyboard last year, because they believe it would lower the barriers to talk about the topic with friends and partners, writes Plan International UK.


However, the winner of five suggested designs, the period pants emoji, was rejected by Unicode Consortium (the California-based organisation that manages emojis worldwide). Thus, the PR campaign almost failed, but creative minds paired up with NHS Blood and Transplant and made another submission: the blood drop emoji.


This time, the application went through and Plan International UK announced, that the emoji will enter our keyboards next month.

The urgency of the emoji becomes clear when you see the shocking numbers Plan International UK researched:

- Almost 70% of girls in the UK aren’t allowed to go to the toilet during school lesson time

- 48% of girls in the UK aged between 14 and 21 are embarrassed by their periods

- 40% of UK girls have had to use toilet roll because they can’t afford proper sanitary products


Therefore, Plan International UK raised not only brand awareness for themselves, but also had a bigger picture in mind: making the reluctantly talked about topic period sharable on social media with the campaign hashtag. Getting the target group involved in voting for the design of the emoji was a democratic decision that helped perpetuate the discussion.

Hence, the PR work from Plan International UK benefits different groups: their target group (emoji users), the charity itself and the NHS, which has benefited from the charity's commitment (the blood drop emoji can be also used in different contexts such as blood donation). All in all, the relief agency has shown what tremendous impact Public Relations work can have, if one is creative and persistent.


How do you like this campaign and the outcome? Let me know in the comments below.

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