The Missing Poster Child





For missing children, maintaining awareness and recognition is vital. Child Focus, the Belgian center for missing children, has long sought to remind people around the globe that a missing child might be closer than they think.

But how could a nonprofit organization in Belgium capture attention and bring awareness to this important cause?


We sought a way to bring this easily forgotten issue to the forefront of every household—and we found the perfect medium. In almost every kitchen cupboard in Belgium, the same familiar face, that of a little boy, is printed on packets of Cassonade Graeffe by well-known sugar brand Tiense Suiker. For 65 years, this little boy has been a fixture in nearly every home in Belgium.


In March 2018, Wunderman Thompson quietly introduced 250,000 new Cassonade Graeffe packages. The catch? The little boy was now missing, leaving an empty chair in his place. We did this without an announcement or any explanation.

Soon, surprised reactions appeared and multiplied on social media. While the story spread, we sent direct mail to the Belgian press and launched a video campaign on social media. At first, the video looked like a conventional sugar commercial, but instead of an actor, it featured Edouard, a young man who went missing as a child and was later found, thanks to Child Focus.


This unique campaign soon stormed all the major newspapers and TV and radio stations, resulting in renewed attention for all missing children and spreading a simple message to households all over Belgium: never give up hope.

For Child Focus, the modest €12,000 campaign fueled massive growth in reach and awareness, including:

  • +68% share rate of missing children posts

  • +9% social reach

  • +8% Facebook followers

  • 24 million media impressions

  • €503.000 in earned media

Sometimes a small campaign with a big idea makes all the difference.