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Donate Your Signature

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There are 781 million illiterate people worldwide who cannot even write their own names. That's one out of every six people on earth. Illiteracy prevents upward social mobility and keeps generation after generation trapped in poverty. How can UNESCO NGO Japan raise awareness and donation for this problem which is difficult to feel ‘real’? 

Introducing 'Donate Your Signature', to let you experience the frustration of illiterate people for yourself by creating ‘unwritable’ receipts out of special paper that repels ink so it could not be signed. For most people in developed countries, it's difficult to empathise with the frustration of not being able to read or write. These abilities are so ingrained within them, they seldom consciously consider the problem. Especially in Japan a country where 99% of people are literate. So it offered the ‘real’ frustration in order to raise awareness and donation against the global illiteracy. 


The target audience was all literate people in Japan, especially people who have higher literacy as 'literate' influencers (e.g. writers, editors, etc). As it needed to highlight the moments of being illiterate, the agency created a simple solution related to an occasion where they write something without thinking - when they sign for their credit card payments. 


It created 'unwritable' receipts out of special paper that repels ink so it could not be signed. On the back of the receipt, your signature appears with the message to evoke donations; ‘Would you like to donate ¥500(=about $5) to improve the literacy of people who cannot even write their name?’  

Customers could then tick a box and this donation would be added to their bill. And to make this idea even more powerful, the agency partnered with the renowned ‘literacy bar’ for aficionados of all forms of writing to congregate. 


- 92% of people chose to donate when settling their bill.  
- 100+ pieces of coverage via online news and blogs.  
- 21% increase in individual donations from previous year.

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