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Shiny Lessons

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There are hundreds of children working as shoe shiners as the only source of income in their families. They live with limited opportunities of having a better future and lacking access to any formal education.

Cobán, one of the most popular shoe brands in Guatemala, with more than 100 hundred years designing, manufacturing and exporting shoes, wanted to help these children.

Shiny Lessons wants to create awareness in the society that these children need education to improve their opportunities as adults. Shoe shine boxes with a radio that broadcasts educational lessons were given to these kids, so they while learn while they keep working.


Cobán is a well-known brand in Guatemala that can generate a call to action to help educate shoe shiners. The first step was to turn a daily routine work object into a work and educational instrument; so the agency made shoeshine boxes with a radio that transmits educational lessons for an hour every day. To launch the programme, it implemented a PR campaign organising a Press Conference in the Historic Civic Centre where most of the shoe shiners work in Guatemala City. The media would expose the problem and the solution that Shiny Lessons represented.

OMD wanted to create awareness among Guatemalans to motivate other companies to join the educational movement and to Cobán consumers to help in the process.


It made shoeshine boxes with a radio device and headphones that would capture only one signal. The broadcast came from a radio located in the city ́s Historic Civic Centre. The boxes were given to every child in exchange of their old shoeshine boxes.

With the help of the Radio Education Directorate of Guatemala it developed the content of the lessons and the evaluation programme. The lessons would be transmitted every day for one hour and there would be class sessions with a teacher once a week. To ensure the permanence in the program, Cobán gave the children shoeshine material, clothes, shoes and food. The project was held for 4 months in Guatemala City helping children that work around the Historic Civic Centre.


21 boxes were given the first week and 237 children completed the programme (first month). The brand gave over 2,844 shoe polish pastes and ink. It obtained material donations worth more than $10,000 including books, notebooks, pens and pencils.

Radio Universidad contributed with the production and broadcast of the lessons. The project got more than $625,000 in press and media.

Coban ́s website duplicated its views. The social network posts reached more than 1,000,000 users and generated more than 10,000,000 prints.

The project aroused the concern of other educational institutions and the Ministry of Education is planning to implement the programme in other Departments of Guatemala.

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Zapaterias Coban
March - April 2015
Media Channel:
Direct Marketing
  • FMAs shortlisted

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