2014 Winners


Tech Breakthrough: GOLD

Digital Engagement: GOLD

Missing Children Society of Canada - Milk Carton 2.0


Starting in 1979 with missing child Etan Patz, milk cartons became as a major media vehicle to raise awareness and involve the public in the search for a missing child. Some 30 years later, missing kids on milk cartons are no more, yet the Missing Children’s Society still handles over 50,000 children reported cases in Canada every year with limited financial resources for expansive search efforts.

Instead of a traditional ad campaign the agency created Milk Carton 2.0 – a series of web and mobile tools using platforms like Facebook, Google and Foursquare that raised awareness for the organization, all while actively engaging the Canadian public in the search for missing children.


Milk Carton 2.0 launched on International Missing Children’s Day (May 25th) to capitalize on when the cause of missing children would be the most top of mind with the public and the press. Public interest and participation was immediate.

Leading up to May 25th, the agency identified 5 key target groups to gain support. These people would serve as our first generation of donators and promoters: 1) Law Enforcement 2) Mommy bloggers 3) Technology & media editorial 4) Socially active youth 5) Celebrities. 12 weeks after launch, ‘Valuable Social Network’, was beta tested on a missing child alert in Hope, BC. Within 36 hours of being issued, the 16-year old girl was found, a direct result of the Milk Carton 2.0 alert being seen.

The other “Most Valuable” platforms followed. By Spring 2013 they were all working together as Milk Carton 2.0 using various channels – digital, social, search and mobile.


  • Milk Carton 2.0 gave the Missing Children Society a national profile and presence, generating over 23 million unique earned media impressions during the first month.
  • Milk Carton 2.0 improved the financial health of the organization, with a 15% increase in public donations and a 27% increase in corporate sponsorship.
  • Milk Carton 2.0 helped the search & rescue efforts of the organization at no additional cost, creating an online search party that reached 70% of all Canadians.
  • Milk Carton 2.0 saved children’s lives, directly responsible (as verified by postrecovery interviews and police reports) for assisting in the rescue of 6 missing children in the first 5 months alone.

Appendix: How Milk Carton 2.0 works

When police create an amber alert, the MCSC selects which digital channels to push the alert out through (Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, etc.). In the case of “Valuable Network”: a web application sends the details to the database via a stored procedure, generating 'messages' for the Microsoft Message Queue to ensure delivery.

In the case of “Valuable CheckIn”, a 'hotspot' is created around the vicinity of where the child when missing. This is done within the Milk Carton 2.0 application by taking the GPS co-ordinates of a postal code.

Authorities then use “Valuable Pinboard” to add more visual triggers from the case file. And finally, “Valuable Engine” is a customized Google search plug-in available for public download and used by employees at companies that are MCSC Corporate Sponsors.


Client: Missing Children Society of Canada - Amanda Pick

Agency: Grey Canada - Patty Moher, Patrick Scissons, Malcolm McLean, Toby Pilling, Mark Brombacher

Have questions? Need help?
Contact Larissa Santiago at 416-408-2300 x317 or lsantiago@brunico.com.