Team Refugees for UNICEF and UNHCR

Broadening the support base for refugees worldwide.

Purpose partnered with UNICEF and UNHCR to get millions of people, including public figures like President Obama, Malala, and the Pope to rally behind the refugee community. The campaign was designed to provide a way for individuals to show their online and offline support for refugees and saw millions across the world uniting under the hashtag #TeamRefugees. By leveraging the popularity and visibility of the Olympics, Purpose and our partners produced an online campaign that has received over 500 million impressions, along with a video that has received over 1.4 million views.

02. Insight & Strategy


There are 21.3 million refugees worldwide, half of them children, many of whom are out of school or struggling to get a quality education. The #TeamRefugees campaign was the inaugural campaign for the Article 26 initiative–a new effort spearheaded by UNICEF and partners in the humanitarian sector and beyond to raise the profile of the global refugee education crisis.


The Olympics are the world’s most-watched global event: the 2016 games created more than 30 billion viewing hours of broadcast television, with an opening ceremony watched by upwards of one billion people. With the announcement of the first Refugee Olympic Team in history, we saw a huge opportunity to educate and inspire a mainstream audience around the refugee crisis through an unexpected lens, the universal appeal of sport.


We created an engaging campaign brand and story-driven content to inspire Olympic viewers to embrace #TeamRefugees. The goal was to humanize the refugee experience and educate the growing fan base about the refugee experience beyond Rio. This would then begin to shift how people perceive refugees and build a support system that can advocate. Our communications strategy reached over 500 million impressions.

03. Video & Commercial

We created a 60 second video that tells the story of a young Iraqi refugee boxer living in Berlin who dreams of being in the Olympics and what #TeamRefugees means to him.

We also partnered with Sesame Street to create a short video in which Grover explains the refugee experience and encourages kids to cheer for #TeamRefugees.

04. Website
05. Branding

We wanted to create a brand that felt like it emerged organically from the fan base; a dynamic, youthful, and vivid portrayal of the enthusiasm and passion refugees bring to our communities. To achieve this we created our own hand drawn font and used bold splashes of color. We explored visual themes from street art, urban culture, and athletic branding across the campaign.

06. Social Media

Partner organizations, celebrities, athletes, and more supported #TeamRefugees

Choose Both: A Digital Guide
for Equity & Evidence