By Britta Schmitz
UNITED NATIONS, June 6 2016 – What impact does the media have on social change? This was
the main question at the Media for Social Impact Summit (MFSI) 2016, held at UNHQ on June 1.
The objective of the event was to analyze the role of the media regarding social change,
showcasing innovative social campaigns, strategizing new ones and to drive social change by
bringing together different stakeholders. Networks and partnerships are key to informing the
public about social issues and urging for solutions to these problems.
The exclusive event connected high-level UN representatives and communication experts with
representatives of leading media companies, advertising firms and creative agencies. Carlos
Islam, Special Events Manager at the UN and responsible for the Angry Birds, Happy Planet
campaign, was one of the invitees. He talked about his Angry Birds campaign, a media campaign
encouraging young people to take action against climate change.
This campaign is a great example of how the UN can promote its Sustainable Development Goals
with help of a leading media company by targeting a young audience through social media. The
Angry Birds campaign was set up around the International Day of Happiness 2016, which is held
on March 20 each year.
“What do the Angry Birds have to do with the International Day of Happiness? … We were asking
the young audience to make the Angry Birds happy by taking action on climate change. That was
the purpose of the campaign,“ Islam explained.
The International Day of Happiness is a special day dedicated to happiness as a fundamental
human right and as key to eradicating poverty. As poverty and climate change are
interconnected, the Angry Birds campaign could ideally combine both climate action and the
International Day of Happiness in order to reach a vast audience.
Angry Birds started off as a computer game and was later turned into a movie, which was
released in May 2016. In March 2016, Red, a character from the Angry Birds, was nominated as
Honorary Ambassador for Green at the UN on the occasion of the International Day of
The Angry Bird, Happy Planet campaign is a joint campaign between the UN and the film
industry. The UN Department for Public Information, responsible for the campaign, has been
working with the film industry since the 1990s.
“Sony Pictures had noticed this and they had also seen some of the work that we had done,“
Carlos Islam said at the event.
The Angry Birds campaign mostly worked with social networks to reach a broader young
audience. Social media is one of the most important tools when it comes to engaging young
people and raising awareness around social issues, such as climate change.
By sending a tweet, recording a vine or taking a photo which shows people raising their voices
for a good cause, all under the hashtag #AngryBirdsHappyPlanet, people could participate on
social media and help raising awareness around the Sustainable Development Goals, in particular
The example of this campaign shows how the UN can interact with young people and how the
UN and the media can work together to create new solutions to raising awareness around social
issues on a greater level.
Source: EuropaNewswire, Photo by: Luiz Rampelotto/EuropaNewswire