In a bold move to make a point about equal education rights, Pepco decided to force the public to confront this pressing issue directly, so it tapped into the internet’s hate appetite put its "Back To School" campaign into the hands of some really unexpected copywriters: illiterate schoolchildren from rural communities.

Pepco Illiterate Ads Case Film
In advertising, we discovered the power of doing good for those who do good. We are the country where six out of 10 children from disadvantaged backgrounds do not know how to write or read at the end of the fourth grade. This is an educational system that is outdated by the needs of the new generations and the current needs of the labor market. We used the authentic words of children as alarm signals.

Miki Crăciunescu

Head of Strategy, VMLY&R

Romania's national expenditure on primary education is the lowest in the EU at only 2.4% of GDP. This small number generates terrible consequences, as six in ten kids in rural Romania struggle to read and write when graduating from primary school. Many Romanians are not aware of this harsh educational gap.

To make a point about equal education rights, Pepco, the go-to family store in Romania, put its "Back To School" campaign into the hands of some unexpected copywriters: schoolchildren from rural communities.

Kicking it off, social media ads with grammar mistakes triggered Pepco fans to react unknowingly and stir up the conversation.


On World Literacy Day, September 8th, the unseen story of the writers was unveiled in a short documentary and the initial rage suddenly changed to support.

Hitting a chord at the start of the new school year, influencers and journalists joined the cause, starting a national debate about this invisible literacy gap.

Pepco followed it up and partnered with educational NGOs to start a literacy program in the schools throughout Romania, all under the aegis of the Romanian presidency.

- 279% increase in schools enrolled in the national program

- 5.1M total reach

- 370K+ total reactions

- 362% increase in schoolchildren supported to reduct the literacy gap

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Awards

The Clio Awards

The Clio Awards

2024


1 Bronze

2023 London International Awards

2023 London International Awards

PR - Creative in PR: Best Use of Social Media


Gold

2023 London International Awards

2023 London International Awards

PR - Creativity in PR: Corporate Purpose/Social Responsibility


Silver

2023 London International Awards

2023 London International Awards

Social & Influencer - Copywriting


Bronze

2023 Cannes Lions

2023 Cannes Lions

Social & Influencer - Innovative Use of Community


Silver Lion