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Weber Shandwick - Isuzu - CSR Program of the Year

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Company: Weber Shandwick, London, United Kingdom
Company Description: Weber Shandwick is a leading global public relations firm with offices in more than 80 countries. The firm’s diverse team of thinkers, strategists, analysts, producers, designers, developers and campaign activators has won the most prestigious awards in the world for innovative, creative approaches and impactful work.
Nomination Category: Company / Organization Categories
Nomination Sub Category: Corporate Social Responsibility Program of the Year - in the Middle East and Africa

Nomination Title: Isuzu Truck South Africa, Empty Truck

Tell the story about this nominated CSR program as it has been carried out since 1 January 2016 (up to 650 words). Focus on specific accomplishments, and relate these accomplishments to past performance or industry norms.

The Eastern Cape, home to 6.5 million people, is one of the poorest parts of South Africa. Many pupils leave school unable to read or write.

Isuzu Truck South Africa, which has been manufacturing in the region since the early 1970s, has its production plant in one of the province’s largest cities, Port Elizabeth. Its workforce grew up here, so the company understands the challenges faced by its community and is always looking for ways to make a meaningful contribution.

Isuzu is the official vehicle sponsor of the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship, an annual triathlon with a 3.8km swim, a 180km bike ride and a 44km run, held in Port Elizabeth every April.

For 2016, it asked us to develop a mechanic that would amplify its sponsorship.

Our idea was to create a platform to help Isuzu support the children’s charity linked with the event, IRONMAN 4 the Kidz. The charity uses money raised by triathletes racing in its name to support 21 charities in the region that help to improve the lives of less fortunate children.


Our simple, completely original idea: what better way to support children growing up in the city where you build trucks, than to use those trucks to deliver books to kids for whom illiteracy is a very real possibility?

We created the “Empty Truck” campaign to ask the community to donate second-hand books, which would be given to IRONMAN 4 the Kidz to pass on to the individual charities (including children’s homes) that they support. An Isuzu truck would first be used as a billboard with a call to action, and then to collect and distribute donated books.


We designed big branded collection boxes for the books made out of Isuzu manufacturing pallets, and asked the community to support the initiative by hosting a box on the premises during the three-day IRONMAN event and for two weeks afterwards. In total, we secured 22 collection points, including at schools, hotels, shopping centres, Isuzu Truck dealerships, the IRONMAN registration area, the airport, and other community venues.

Our sister team at McCann Johannesburg designed a logo for the campaign, and set up the ITSA Empty Truck page on Facebook, which we filled with photos of people putting books into the collection boxes.

We hosted a media launch event appealing for books and support, and branded an Isuzu truck with the message: “Let’s fill it with books. Donate, read, empower”.

There was a clear call to action on all collateral, press releases and social media posts throughout the campaign, as well as on the homepage of the Isuzu Truck South Africa website: “Drop off any books that you're not using anymore in" target="_blank">#ITSAEMPTYTRUCK branded boxes in designated areas around Port Elizabeth”.

Two weeks later, there was a symbolic handover of all the books to IRONMAN 4 the Kidz. An Isuzu truck was used to deliver books to the children’s homes supported by the charity in the poorest areas of Port Elizabeth.


The 22-day corporate citizenship campaign delivered beyond expectations. We were overwhelmed with the generosity of people in the region: we didn’t think we’d get more than 10,000 books, but a total of 38,472 books were collected, from fiction to school textbooks, and delivered to people of need across the region.

But perhaps the best results came when we met the children who the books were donated to. There’s nothing quite like seeing a six-year-old hold their own book for the first time ever.

We also achieved above-target levels of media and influencer engagement:

-Total 22 pieces of coverage
-TV coverage on SABC (South African Broadcasting Corporation) plus 4 radio interviews reaching 5,247,330
-64,251 people reached on Facebook
-Of the 6.5 million people in the Eastern Cape Province, 80.7% were reached by the campaign.

In bullet-list form, briefly summarize up to ten (10) chief achievements since 1 January 2016 of the nominated CSR program (up to 150 words).

-The Eastern Cape is one of the poorest parts of South Africa and has the lowest number of children in the country who complete their education.
-Isuzu Truck South Africa, whose workforce comes from the Eastern Cape city of Port Elizabeth, wanted to leverage its sponsorship of the Standard Bank IRONMAN African Championship in a way that would help local children.
-We asked the community to fill an empty Isuzu truck with books, which were donated to IRONMAN’s children’s charity arm, IRONMAN 4 the Kidz, to combat illiteracy.
-We collected nearly 40,000 books – four times our target – and had high levels of engagement.
-This simple, powerful corporate citizenship initiative was so successful that Isuzu has expanded the campaign and its support for IRONMAN 4 the Kidz to ensure it is having a real impact on the lives and futures of children in a region with desperate need.