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Month: March 2021

The first cut is the kindest – Casa de la Amistad

The first cut is the kindest – Casa de la Amistad

Here is your lateral thinking test.

In Mexico, childhood cancer is the main cause of death from the disease amongst children aged between 5 and 14. About 5,000 new cases are diagnosed every year. Many of these children lose all their hair and with it their confidence. Making a good wig is expensive as it needs a lot of undyed human hair. One wig can cost $1500.

Traditionally, not-for-profit organizations have targeted women. Your challenge is to come up with an alternative group who could be targeted.  And for bonus points how will you get them to donate their hair freely?




Not an easy one, is it?

You might want some creative thinkers to help.

That’s what “Casa de la Amistad” (Friendship House), a non-profit organization that supports children with cancer and living in poverty, decided. They approached Ogilvy and Mather (Mexico) and asked for their help.

The objective they set, was to obtain donor hair to make wigs for these children and restore their self-esteem during their treatment.

Their answer was to mix medicine and ‘metalheads’ heavy metal music lovers and at the heart of their idea was The Hair Fest. It would be the first festival in the world for which the entrance fee wasn’t money but hair.

The Hair Fest would take place in Mexico City in April 2014 and nine of the biggest Mexican Heavy Metal bands (Black Overdrive, Profanator, Raped God666, Intoxxicated, Voltax, Maligno, Los Viejos, Ágora and Luzbel) would play in a festival that would last 8 hours.

If you wanted a ticket and lots of metalheads did, they could get a ticket in exchange for 25cm of their hair.

The organizers set up podiums at the entrance to the site and provided stylists to do the actual cutting. It created a camaraderie and spectacle as those who had had their cut and those waiting could shout encouragement, support, respect or just generally make light of what was happening.

 (For those whose hair wasn’t long enough there was an option to buy a ticket)

The results were amazing, in terms of social media and awareness:

  • 9 million hits on social media – Facebook, Twitter and YouTube.
  • €500,000 worth of free media.

In terms of attendance:

  • They had expected 400 but over 1000 attended.

In recognition of Ogilvy’s creativity:

  • Hair Fest campaign won 2 silver lions in Cannes 2014 (the first in the ‘Shows’ category and the second one in ‘Charities’)

But most importantly in terms of success:

  • The events collected enough hair for 107 wigs.

MORAL: Lateral thinking can lead to new solutions. Can you identify a new ‘target audience’?