Ministry of Children and Education

Campaign for Presence
Don't sound like mom

Student absence is a growing problem in Danish schools, not least because studies have shown that absence leads to dropping out, i.e. less or no education at all. But how do you explain that to youngsters without sounding like an echo of their moms, their teachers and all the other grown-ups who always tell them what to do? The short answer: You don't.

A campaign for Presence

Instead of warning students about the serious consequences of not attending school, we created a campaign for school. A positive campaign showing that school is cool – a place filled with friends and dedicated teachers. People who miss you when you’re absent because it’s better when everybody’s here. In short: We made a campaign for presence.

The campaign was kickstarted by a 60 second commercial on national TV – a music video based on a rewritten version of a Danish number one hit song. The main character of the music video was performed by a Danish top comedian acting as three different teachers singing their hearts out to students they miss in class. In the following weeks, the full version of the music video became a genuine viral hit, seen by millions online.

Furthermore, you could also send a wake-up call to your friend’s mobile phone if he or she was skipping school. And if that didn’t help, you could report his or her absence on national radio and have the host make a live wake-up call the next day...

Massive engagement and a changed attitude

After a short period of time the campaign for presence got a life of its own – and was spoofed and talked about just about everywhere. Here are some of the results:

2.8 million film views online (equivalent to half of Denmark).
0.5 million visits to the campaign site.
32.000 user generated music videos.
50.000 mobile ”wake-up calls” from student to student.
1 out 5 youngsters stated the campaign had significantly changed their attitude to absence.