DLKW Lowe Helps Women in Africa Establish Their Own Businesses


To work with the Microloan Foundation to help women in Africa set up their own small businesses. 


The Microloan Foundation is a small, London-based charity that helps women in Africa to set up their own small businesses.  DLKW Lowe (the London office of Lowe and Partners) aimed to create an engaging way to invite the public to interact with the cause. 

The agency created the “Pennies for Life” campaign to show how even a small donation could make a big difference.  The campaign used mobile SMS technology in a new way that enabled people to make an instant donation to the charity and receive an immediate – and public – reward. 

On a digital poster site at a busy shopping center in London, DLKW Lowe created unfinished portraits of African women, made entirely of pennies.  They then invited passers-by to complete each picture by texting a donation to the poster along with their name.  Working with Grand Visual, who also donated their services, the team made innovative use of Grand Visual’s Open Loop platform. When texts were received, they activated an on-screen animation sequence, and the donation dropped into place as an animated shower of coins was added to the unfinished portrait.  The donor’s name also appeared on the screen with a personal thank you.

As soon as enough donations were received to fund one business loan, all of the donors were rewarded with an animation sequence that completed the portrait and demonstrated how the money raised would help the woman to set up her new business.

Each donor received a reply text inviting them to the campaign microsite, where they could view a live donation tracker and find their own credit in the “portrait gallery,” as well as see who else had contributed. They could also announce their donation via Twitter, Facebook and Google+, and invite their friends to take part as well.

The uniqueness of the campaign meant that people participated on multiple levels: actively sending text donations, watching the poster animation live, watching footage posted overnight on YouTube, reading about the event in social media and visiting the charity’s website.


In total, more than 300,000 people were exposed to the campaign, either at the site itself, or through Twitter reach. And, from one poster site, in its first weekend, 21 women in Africa who had nothing now have their own small businesses.

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