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Last Men in Aleppo

How we helped Crisis Action target politicians with personalised sites so they could understand what the attacks on Aleppo would look like if it was happening in their own backyard.

With the conflict in Syria escalating and the number of civilians and aid workers being killed and injured in the crossfire, Crisis Action came to us to build out an innovative new form of political campaigning.

The 2017 documentary about the White Helmets Last Men in Aleppo was about to launch, and it was time for politicians to understand exactly what this terrible conflict would look like if it was happening in their own backyard.

The secret weapon that Crisis Action had was some extraordinary data representing how the Syrian conflict would affect British, French and German constituencies. They wanted to get MPs eyes on this in order to get them to take action in their respective parliaments, but needed to do something more hard hitting than the usual e-petition route.

The result? A visually striking website powered by this data, translated into 3 languages and personalised to each individual MP.

The particularly exciting aspect of working with on a topic like the war in Syria is how fast teams need to move in order to capitalise on current events. This was a prime example: the White Helmets were embarking on an awareness raising campaign in Europe, and it was the perfect time to engage MPs and other politicians.

To do this, we provided Crisis Action with a template to input their data into, in order for us to model the database on. We then wireframed out user journeys, taking into account the fact that each MP would require their own personalised landing page, in order to see the stats from their own constituency. To access this personalised page, each MP also needed a unique PIN via an email - a seriously complicated endeavour across three countries!

Once we were confident of the route in wireframes, we launched into design, finding a balance between illustrating a stark reality of life in Syria without being overly graphic which we felt would turn people away from the message. We animated these illustrations to bring the page to life, showing bombs falling from planes, people fleeing their homes, and school classrooms being slowly deserted.

During the process, Crisis Action proposed an additional element: allowing members of the public to view the personalised stats for their own constituencies using a postcode search. This would take them to a personalised constituency page with a tailored call to action. So a member of the public could search for areas of France, Germany and the UK to see the consequences of the Syria conflict there.

The result of this innovative new way of contacting MPs was a beautiful website with a truly personalised feel. Emails were sent to every MP across the three countries, urging them to click through to see personalised stats for their own constituency. Each graphic was then shareable via Twitter, pulling through the relevant statistic with it. In the case of the public, this tweet message also linked to the relevant MP, urging them to act now. Each postcode and MP had a personalised site, thousands of pages created to bring the message home. While we can’t reveal specific data, there was a very high rate of politician interaction with the pages, helping bring the horrors of Aleppo to the corridors of power in the UK, France and Germany. 

Want to find out how DEV can help you improve your digital advocacy? We’d love to hear from you.​

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Last men in Aleppo