FCB Inferno

Core disciplines: Advertising/Creative, Digital, Integrated marketing, Social


Alphabet of Illiteracy 





Project Literacy is a global campaign founded and convened by Pearson, the FTSE 100 publishing company, dedicated to building partnerships and driving action that puts reading and writing within everyone’s reach. Pearson briefed us to create a campaign that would raise awareness of the scale, severity and consequences of illiteracy, to push illiteracy higher on the political agenda, and for the United Nations to make illiteracy a target within the sustainable development goals and that by 2030 no child will be born at risk of illiteracy. Please sign the petition here


The Insight

Illiteracy is the root cause of many of the world’s biggest problems.


The Idea

Use the building blocks of reading and writing, the ABCs, to demonstrate the link between illiteracy and 26 major problems facing the world today.


The Film

A 90 second film reworks the 1948 hit ‘A you’re Adorable’ with a harrowing narrative, clashing the emotions you remember from learning the ABCs with some of the world’s gravest issues. Each letter is represented with hand crafted sculptures by Wilfred Wood, known for his satirical work on Spitting Image, which have each been turned into three dimensional CGI models.





A complementary social media strategy across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr, tells the story of each letter, highlighting Project Literacy partners’ work and the experiences of those affected by illiteracy. Each letter has a dedicated Instagram account featuring content on the relevant topic, allowing users to discover each letter of the ‘Alphabet of Illiteracy’ natively on the platform. Key social influencers, such as those close to literacy and sustainable development and a number of high profile partners, are being engaged to add their voices to the campaign.





We built an interactive website that houses the entire project. Users can explore the 26 issues in detail and show their support by signing the Project Literacy petition, created on behalf of the 757 million illiterate people in the world. Upon doing so, users can create a GIG of their name in the ‘Alphabet of Illiteracy’ letters to be shared on social media.



International Literacy Day  - The Mighty Pencil Machine

To celebrate the 50th anniversary of International Literacy Day we collated messages of support, via our web app, from around the world. With our specially built Mighty Pencil Machine we printed these messages of support and turned them into pencils. The machine was housed at an art gallery in New York’s Tribeca where visitors could watch as their pencils were made with their message within. The event also featured pencil portraits of people whose lives have been rewritten by learning to read and write. Julianne Moore attended the exhibition as the official ambassador and spoke to press around the world about Project Literacy.




The Results 

The film has more than 12.8 million views, and we are now up to 17,000 followers on Twitter with over 27.3 million social impressions since launch. The petition has been signed over 14,000 times, and Project Literacy has been asked to join the UNESCO Global Alliance for Literacy, the panel advising on global illiteracy.

This summer we have also been awarded the Cannes Lions 2016 Health Grand Prix for the campaign. 

More recently our Mighty Pencil Machine campaign for International Illiteracy Day lead to #ProjectLiteracy achieving a reach of more than 10 million people on Facebook in the space of one week. 

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