The file is temporarily not accessible. Please try later!


The current file is MB in size and your download remaining (MB) is not sufficient.

Your monthly download limit(150MB) will reset 12:01 a.m. GMT on the 1st of each month.


Considering bandwidth cost, WELOVEAD provides limited free download service.

Please notice the following before downloading the file.

Befor Download MB
File size MB
After download MB


Due to busy traffic of our server for this moment, please wait seconds before you are able to download again.

Sleeping Flags

Sleeping Flags | O.N.E. | Rothco
Download Download JPG | 2479x1752px
Industry: Public interest & Non-profit
Style: Minimalism
Why is this work relevant for Brand Experience & Activation?

In Ireland, hundreds of Defence Forces veterans end up homeless, due to a lack of official support and public recognition of their service to the country. To generate awareness and meaningful support for them, we had to shock the Irish public into caring. To achieve that, we created ‘Sleeping Flags’ for homeless charity ONE, transforming the Irish flag into the universal symbol of homelessness - the sleeping bag. In a coordinated act, veterans slept in these bags outside landmark buildings around Ireland, creating an unmistakable spectacle for the public. This immediately sparked a nationwide conversation and overwhelmingly positive response for


O.N.E., a small, independent charity providing emergency accommodation to homeless Irish Defences Forces veterans, faced two huge barriers in raising much-needed funds. They operate in an extremely crowded homeless charity sector dominated by a few big players, while the Defence Forces veterans they care for receive almost no public recognition or support despite representing their country with distinction. Even with the number of homeless veterans numbering in the hundreds, their plight, and the work of O.N.E. in supporting them, was totally invisible.
On a modest budget, our brief was to make a big and immediate impact as O.N.E. faced a yearly struggle to keep their doors open. Our objectives were two-fold: we needed to build awareness of this hidden crisis quickly with the Irish public so we could establish the charity in people’s minds and instantly call on them for critically-needed donations.

Describe the creative idea (20% of vote)

There is a huge disconnect between the Irish public and the Irish Defence Forces. But there is one thing both groups have in common - a huge sense of pride in the national flag.
The flag is 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. So we decided to break protocol to spark a much-needed conversation led by O.N.E. If our veterans were laying in the streets, then so too would our flag.
We created Sleeping Flags. An act that took Ireland’s iconic Tricolour flag and transformed it into the universal symbol of homelessness - the sleeping bag. A shocking, shameful combination which forced the public to consider what mattered more to them - the flag, or those who gave everything for it.

Describe the strategy (20% of vote)

Rather than targeting a particular demographic, our Sleeping Flags appeal set out to capture the attention of patriotic Irish individuals and institutions. People who saw Ireland as a proud, inclusive country built on social justice for all. We knew that they would be the ones to both react and respond strongly to seeing the flag that represents their country suddenly representing a shameful failure to care for the people who served it.
More than a shock visual tactic, our approach was based on the insight that, even more than the general public, the flag means everything to Defence Forces personnel, serving or retired. They treat it with absolute reverence. Taking this action demonstrated to the people of Ireland this was an absolute last resort for O.N.E. and the homeless veterans it provides emergency accommodation for - veterans who would end up living, and dying, on the streets without them.

Describe the execution (30% of vote)

Sleeping Flags launched on the 11th of February 2019.

In a coordinated act to raise public awareness and support, veterans took to the streets in our Sleeping Flags, sleeping in the shadow of iconic buildings chosen for their historical significance and symbolism.

We launched the campaign by having an Irish influencer known for activism and social commentary tweet a single image of a veteran in one of our bags. This single provocative image was like a tinderbox. Something that should elicit pride in Irish people was used to elicit anger and a sense of shame.

This quickly spread, generating a huge amount of debate and conversation. The following morning O.N.E. claimed ownership of the act, releasing a follow-up documentary appeal online that explained the urgent need for this drastic action. This was supported by a social campaign and subsequent outdoor installations featuring the Sleeping Flags to drive donations.

List the results (30% of vote)

The campaign was an immediate national sensation, sparking intense conversation and debate about the treatment of the flag versus the treatment of Irish veterans online and across the media. It was covered by every national TV, radio station and newspaper in Ireland, with homeless veterans and members of O.N.E. interviewed on every major current affairs and chat show. Within 48 hours, O.N.E. had received a 4,560% increase in donations versus the previous year.
Sleeping Flags created such an impact that the welfare of veterans was raised on the floor of Dáil Éireann (the Irish Parliament), causing the government to donate a new building to O.N.E. along with €200,000 in funding to transform it into a much-needed additional hostel. This enabled O.N.E. to expand their services and keep more homeless veterans off the streets of Ireland.

Please tell us about the social behaviour and/or cultural insights that inspired your campaign

In Ireland, its Defences Forces personnel, both active and retired, receive very little public recognition for their service to the country. Their situation is in stark contrast to other countries where their military is woven into the national sense of identity, such as America, Australia or South Korea, to name a few. There is a perception that the country’s Defence Forces spends its time doing purely ceremonial duties or drills in Irish barracks, when the reality is the country has been the United Nations top peacekeeping force, operating in conflict zones around the world, for decades. They also suffer a complete lack of official support they receive when their service to the country ends. There are no courses to help them adjust to civilian life once discharged, while any medical or psychological support instantly disappears, leaving many suffering ongoing health issues or trauma such as PTSD without anywhere to turn.
Executive Creative Director:
Creative Director:
Account Manager:
Production Company:
Director of Photography:
Sound Design:
Post Production:
Other credit:CEO: Ollie O'Connor
Marketing Director: Jill Byrne
Business Director: Katie Oslizlok
Strategy: Tara Finnegan
Connections Strategist: Emer Fitzgerald
Social Lead: Colm Cusack
Project Director: Claire O'Doherty
Photographer Retoucher: Lee Hickman @ Lee to the Retouch
Production Coordinator: Paula Stewart
Costume Designer: Maeve Peterson @ Studio 54
Post Production Supervisor: Jennifer Connolly
Colour Grading: Philip Hambi (MPC)
Website Design: Stephen Flynn
Website Development: Sean Crawford and Niall Eccles
Technical Director: Daire Lennon
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Silver Brand Experience & Activation
Social Behaviour & Cultural Insight
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Silver PR
Not-for-profit / Charity / Government
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Bronze Outdoor
Live Advertising and Events
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Brand Experience & Activation
Not-for-profit / charity / government
Latest Updated