Case study: Medicos Sin Fronteras

The charity sold sweets in fake medicine packets in pharmacies across the country

Medicos Sin Fronteras
Medicos Sin Fronteras

Organisation: Medicos Sin Fronteras

Campaign: Pastillas Contra El Dolor Ajeno

Agency: Germinal Communication

In November 2010, Medicos Sin Fronteras, the humanitarian aid organisation based in Spain, launched an innovative fundraising campaign that involved selling sweets, presented in imitation medicine packets, in pharmacies across the country.

The campaign, Pastillas Contra El Dolor Ajeno, which translates as "tablets against other people's pain", sold the sweets to raise money for people across the developing world to have access to pills that could cure diseases such as malaria and childhood Aids. The packets were sold for EUR1 each in 21,000 pharmacies throughout the country.

The campaign included an integrated marketing strategy, including a TV advert featuring one of Spain's most famous film directors, and a website. Supporting organisations, such as logistics and distribution companies and pharmaceutical associations, covered many of the costs.

In the first three months of the campaign, three million packets were sold and EUR2.75m (£2.4m) was raised after tax. The cost to the charity was EUR1.18m. The campaign raised awareness through media work, reaching an estimated audience of 90 million people. It will be relaunched this month.


Grahame Darnell, Managing director, Darnell Consulting

Grahame Darnell, Managing director, Darnell ConsultingSelling sweets over shop counters for charity hardly sounds innovative - until you consider the positioning and channel.

The medicine packet is creative and delivery through pharmacies reaches a target audience with whom the message - access to medicines - will resonate. Add a well-executed marketing campaign and any charity would be proud of this.

A EUR1.57m profit in three months is impressive - not to mention the donor acquisition and exposure. Are any UK pharmacies listening?


Creativity: 4

Delivery: 4

Total: 8 out of 10

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