Children’s Cancer Foundation turns Hair for Hope event digital complete with live-streaming and AR filter

Children’s Cancer Foundation is turning its iconic fundraising event, Hair for Hope, virtual this year. Digital marketing efforts for Hair for Hope 2021 will be underpinned by a strong storytelling focus, brought to life via emotive sharing from past "shavees" (those who have shaved their hair for the event), childhood cancer survivors and caregivers. This will be done on social media through a mix of static and rich media content.

There will also be livestreaming of head-shaving throughout the two-month campaign. Having a total of four livestreams throughout the campaign, each livestream session will have at least two ceremonial "shavees" and live-streaming will be done at partner venues such as Kong Meng San Phor Kark See Monastery.  Additionally, Hair for Hope will roll out branded stickers, AR (augmented reality) filter on Instagram and DP (display picture) frame on Facebook. The Facebook display frame and AR filter will be launched in late April and mid-May respectively. The AR filter will also offer multiple variations for users to choose from and "shavees", in particular, will be able to showcase their “before-after” look with the filter. 

In a statement to MARKETING-INTERACTIVE, a spokesperson from Children’s Cancer Foundation said the target this year is to attract at least 1,500 shaves and raise SG$1.5 million for children and families affected by cancer. 

Pre-publicity for the event, which will be held from 2 May to 30 June has already started. This includes the unveiling of the Hair for Hope 2021 logo. Conceptualised around the theme of survival instincts, the new logo (pictured below) aims to reflect the new normal post-COVID-19, as well as key attributes Children's Cancer Foundation strives to develop in affected children and their caregivers. To drive further awareness of the event, Children's Cancer Foundation will also utilise marketing platforms such as EDMs, Facebook, Instagram and Google, as well as offline digital billboards and in-train spots. The campaign is done in collaboration with local independent agency, JET.AVE.  

hfh 2021 logo

Held annually, Hair for Hope is a head-shaving campaign in Singapore that serves to raise funds and awareness in support of childhood cancer. The campaign typically culminates in a two-day physical event, where participants commit to Hair for Hope slogan of making a “bald statement” and shave their heads to show solidarity for children who suffer the common side-effect of chemotherapy. According to Children's Cancer Foundation, over 5,400 people took part in 2019, but the event was cancelled last year after the COVID-19 outbreak to prioritise the safety of Hair for Hope's supporters and staff. 

Unlike previous years, interested participants for Hair for Hope 2021 will have to register as a "shavee" on Hair for Hope website, collect their merchandise via one of the branded vending machines islandwide, shave their head at their own convenience, and mark their shave on the website to complete the process. 

Children's Cancer Foundation’s CEO Peng Hai Ying said: “As with life in the wild, every family at Children's Cancer Foundation develops their own mix of survival instincts to help them cope with the physical, emotional and psychological impacts of the illnesses. The programmes and services at Children's Cancer Foundation help children and their caregivers develop resilience and find alternative ways to thrive.” Peng added that the need to serve its beneficiaries remains Children's Cancer Foundation's most powerful drive. "The pandemic may have posed a challenge, but we strived to make great pivots and overcame it just so we could bring HfH back," she added.

The challenge of turning a physical event such as Hair for Hope into a virtual one lies in having a tight offline-to-online strategy, JET.AVE’s co-founder Avelyn Ng said. Besides re-educating existing fanbase on the change in format, the agency had to make sure the messaging is consistent and interest is sustained at various touch points.  “Over the years, Hair for Hope has garnered a large pool of loyal supporters. We see this digital move as an opportunity to equip them with more tools to spread the message, amplify their voices on social media, and in turn convert them into HfH’s own micro-influencers. Through their user-generated content, we will be able to reach out to new audiences as well," Ng said. 

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