We spend most of our time selling other people’s products to other people’s audiences with other people’s money. So it feels particularly good when we apply our creativity, tools, skills, resources and connections to do something more meaningful than hawking a few more cans of beer or moving some cars off the lot.
Such was the case earlier this week when I got my first glimpse of 12daysofrelief, a Mullen project designed to raise money for Hurricane Sandy victims struggling to rebuild their lives. On a simple website you can see and hear their stories conveyed in an emotional version of the song The Twelve Days of Christmas where each verse ends with “what I really need is _________.” I’ll be stunned if you’re not inclined to make a donation.
On the first day of Christmas here’s what I really need, a house where my house used to be.
The project was initiated by a few employees, pitched to management (who quickly approved it), then quickly put into motion. Hungry Man and director Dave Laden donated services. Mullen contributed time and money. And a host of other suppliers jumped on board the project.
As projects like this should go, it was lightning fast. A team traveled to Rockaway, Queens, NY and Seaside Heights, New Jersey, identified victims on location, and captured them on film as they shared their stories and needs, everything from clean socks, to customers, housing and missing loved ones. Six days later the site is live and nearly $20,000 has been raised.
There are so many reasons we should pursue projects like this. Some are obvious. We can make a difference in people’s lives. Help solve unsolvable problems. Call attention to social ills and worthy causes.
But there are other reasons equally compelling. Projects like this make us a better industry in which to work. They attract employees with a conscious. They create a shared purpose within a company. And they remind our clients that there are benefits to “Conscious Capitalism.”
Recently we’ve seen plenty of good examples from companies within our industry, from the industry itself, and from advertisers. Made by Many’s 50/50 project raised money for African famine relief. Leo Burnett’s Recipeace supported the UN’s global self–sustaining annual day of peace and as a result took home D&AD’s White Pencil.
And just this morning Panera added to its not-for-profit cafes with the announcement of a Boston restaurant that asks patrons to pay only what they can afford, hoping to raise awareness for “food insecurity.”
Have any good examples? Please share. Thanks for reading and may you find a worthy cause to support this holiday season.