Plan International: Masterbrand


A story whose time had come


Despite being one of the world’s most respected humanitarian organizations and having achieved remarkable success with “Because I am a Girl,” Plan International was not well understood as a brand and was often mistaken for competitors such as World Vision. Plan also needed a new positioning and narrative that would bring to life its core mission – advancing children’s rights – and help the brand overcome a key barrier: messaging and communications that were either too technical or too complex for the average donor.


By using L’Institut Idée’s proprietary Structural Mapping Process® (SMP) in concert with the Humanise Collective’s planning and creative chops, we helped the NGO to not only rally its internal stakeholders around its organizing idea, but also communicate it to the public through the largest campaign in the organization’s history. Grounded on the insight that we’ve come to accept the loss of human potential as “normal,” the new narrative, called “Defy Normal”, served as a rallying cry for people to stop turning a blind eye to children and girls whose rights are routinely denied, dismissed or violated. 


“Defy Normal” unfolded through a 30-second TV spot on major stations, a two-minute film that aired in over 170 theatre screens, and placements in OOH, on digital boards and on digital platforms via YouTube, social media and Plan’s campaign page. This resulted in double-digit growth in awareness for the Plan International brand in Canada – the most significant jump in awareness the organization has ever known.

Moral of the story

Telling a story that speaks powerfully to the zeitgeist is a definitive way to start a movement.