Charity work makes me feel fuzzy inside

March 22, 2013

MullenLowe London and the MicroLoan Foundation charity has initiated an innovative digital poster that integrates the physical world with the digital. The unique coin operated poster, at Westfield London’s Southern Terrace, allows passers-by to drop their change into a real coin box and then watch their exact denomination of coins roll through the digital billboard.

Created by MullenLowe London, with production and creative technology by Grand Visual, the campaign is based on an old fashioned charity coin box where you watch your coins roll past a static scene and into the tin. In this reincarnation, each real donation instantly appears on the digital screen and rolls through it, telling the story of how it transforms lives as it goes.

MicroLoan Foundation enables women in Africa to help themselves out of poverty, by providing small loans, mentoring and training to help them set up their own small businesses. Once their businesses are up and running the women pay back their loans, and the money is then used to provide more loans. So every donation keeps on giving, over and over again.

Grand Visual was responsible for the animation and interactive development, as well as the mechanism to integrate the physical coin drop with the on-screen digital creative. A currency detector was used to recognise all UK coin denominationsabove 5p and then to output an electronic pulse code for each value. An Arduino board interprets the incoming code and sends it to a database so that the interactive creative can read and deliver the matching digital coin to run through the creative execution.

Frances Leach & Christopher Bowsher, the team at MullenLowe London who created the campaign, said “We’ve always been fascinated by the blurring of the physical and digital worlds, and it was a great opportunity to re-invent something that we loved as kids. Hopefully the digital angle will inspire a younger generation to engage with the charity, meaning more donations.”

The incredible pro-bono support that we’ve received from MullenLowe London and Grand Visual will enable us to raise vital awareness and money in the UK which ultimately helps MicroLoan support more women in Africa”.

Dan Dawson, Creative & Technology Director at Grand Visual commented: “This bespoke digital outdoor campaign combines an old school mechanical device with electronics and interactive media for a rich and rewarding experience on a grand scale. The creative tells the story about how each donation is used by MicroLoan to help change lives in Africa”.

Sara Bowcutt, Head of Fundraising at MicroLoan Foundation, said: “For more information on MicroLoan Foundation please visit:

Project name: MicroLoan Charity Box