Project Literacy

Alphabet of Illiteracy

Project Literacy is a global campaign founded and convened by Pearson, the FTSE 100 publishing company, dedicated to building partnerships and driving action that puts reading and writing within everyone’s reach. Pearson briefed us to create a campaign that would raise awareness of the scale, severity and consequences of illiteracy, to push illiteracy higher on the political agenda, and for the United Nations to make illiteracy a target within the sustainable development goals and that by 2030 no child will be born at risk of illiteracy.

The Insight

Illiteracy is the root cause of many of the world’s biggest problems.

The Idea

Use the building blocks of reading and writing, the ABCs, to demonstrate the link between illiteracy and 26 major problems facing the world today.


A complementary social media strategy across Facebook, Instagram, Twitter, YouTube and Tumblr, tells the story of each letter, highlighting Project Literacy partners’ work and the experiences of those affected by illiteracy. Each letter has a dedicated Instagram account featuring content on the relevant topic, allowing users to discover each letter of the ‘Alphabet of Illiteracy’ natively on the platform. Key social influencers, such as those close to literacy and sustainable development and a number of high profile partners, are being engaged to add their voices to the campaign.

The film

A 90 second film reworks the 1948 hit ‘A you’re Adorable’ with a harrowing narrative, clashing the emotions you remember from learning the ABCs with some of the world’s gravest issues. Each letter is represented with hand crafted sculptures by Wilfred Wood, known for his satirical work on Spitting Image, which have each been turned into three dimensional CGI models.


We built an interactive website that houses the entire project. Users can explore the 26 issues in detail and show their support by signing the Project Literacy petition, created on behalf of the 757 million illiterate people in the world. Upon doing so, users can create a GIF of their name in the ‘Alphabet of Illiteracy’ letters to be shared on social media.


Cannes Lions Health Grand Prix in 2016 

The results

The film has more than 12.8 million views, and we are now up to 17,000 followers on Twitter with over 27.3 million social impressions since launch. The petition has been signed over 14,000 times, and Project Literacy has been asked to join the UNESCO Global Alliance for Literacy, the panel advising on global illiteracy.