Irish veterans risk everything to serve the flag, but it doesn’t always serve them. Despite decades of distinguished service as UN Peacekeepers around the world and at home during The Troubles, many have been left destitute and in desperate need of help. Public awareness of the plight of these homeless veterans is almost non-existent. We needed to raise awareness and funds fast.
The flag is an incredibly important to all members of the Irish military. They have risked their lives for it. They hold it in the highest esteem, and the protocols around its representation and treatment are incredibly strict.
We decided to use it as a symbol and start a much needed conversation. If our veterans were laying in the gutter, then so too would our flag.
We created Sleeping Flags. We took the iconic green, white and orange Tricolour flag and paired it with the object most universally associated with homelessness, the sleeping bag. A jarring and shocking combination which forced the public to consider what is more important to them – the flag, or the people who serve it.
We seeded the idea on social media, leaking unbranded images of veterans on the streets in Sleeping Flags beside historically significant political landmarks. Once the conversation was in full flow, O.N.E. claimed responsibility, releasing a short film directed by award-winning documentary maker Ross Whitaker.
The campaign was covered by every national TV, Radio station and newspaper in Ireland, creating such an impact that it was discussed on the floor of Dáil Eireann, the Irish Parliament. Within 48 hours, O.N.E. had received a 4,560% increase in donations versus the previous year.