FCB New Zealand Recognized for Inclusion Campaign of the Year

FCB New Zealand’s campaign “Undercover Crossword” was named Campaign of the Year at the IPG 2019 Inclusion Awards.

Shockingly, elder abuse is rampant in New Zealand, with over 70,000 being abused each year. What’s worse, over 75% of abusers are their own family members. The Office for Seniors – a government watchdog – needed to educate elderly on what isn’t ok and urge victims to seek help – all without abusers catching wind.

So, in partnership with the country’s top newspapers, FCB New Zealand launched 3.6 million Undercover Crosswords. They appeared like ordinary newspaper crosswords – a popular pastime for the elderly. But over two weeks, each daily crossword contained one special clue: defining a type of mistreatment many elderly face. All clues led to the same answer: abuse, followed by a prompt to call the national helpline, 0800 EA NOT OK. Calls increased by 271% – marking the highest level of calls since the helpline’s launch.

The first objective of the campaign was to educate the elderly on what constitutes elder abuse. FCB New Zealand did this by using the 10 most common forms of elder abuse as the clues to the daily crosswords in New Zealand’s national newspaper campaign. The answer to these clues was always “abuse.”

The second objective was to increase help-seeking via the elder abuse helpline by at least 50%. In the first week of the crosswords running, calls increased by 112% – more than double what they were. 

The final objective was to raise national awareness of what constitutes elder abuse. So, once every crossword had gone out and victims had had time to seek help, FCB New Zealand took the story to the nation. Post-campaign analysis revealed that one-third of New Zealanders were aware of the campaign. And, more than half of those said it had changed their view of what elder abuse is and who the main abusers are. This change of perception was crucial in helping New Zealanders and elderly recognize and report abuse going forward.

Furthermore, the agency achieved an ROI of 112:1. And finally, the campaign was championed in Parliament by Member of Parliament Tracey Martin to acknowledge the seriousness of the issue and to seek further funding toward prevention.


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