Ad Executives Team Up for Charity Advertising Campaign

A hundred people, including advertising creatives, artists and actor John Hurt, have collaborated free of charge to create the equivalent of a €1.4million advertising campaign for the Irish branch of the Make-a-Wish foundation.

The campaign was led by advertising agency Ogilvy & Mather and its sister media agency, Mediaedge:cia. They decided that, rather than making a donation to a charity, they wanted to use their skills to make a difference. A staff member at Ogilvy suggested Make-a-Wish.

‘‘We wanted to make one charity famous,” said David Hayes, managing director of Mediaedge:cia. ‘‘The brilliant thing about this charity was, they gave us a blank canvas.”

Make-a-Wish is a global charity that fulfils the dreams and aspirations of children with life-threatening illnesses, however outlandish they may be. Wishes it has fulfilled include meeting James Bond (actor Daniel Craig thrilled the child when he showed up wearing a suit and driving an Aston Martin), Disneyworld visits and a trip to Nasa.

Its Irish wing does not receive state funding and has virtually no marketing budget.

The charity is now running a colourful ad campaign across radio, TV and outdoor, centring on a child’s concept of what it might look like to be things like a spaceman, a wizard or a wrestler.

Eleven illustrators were asked to create the artwork for posters. An animated TV ad was made by Piranha Bar based on their work. John Hurt agreed to take part in the TV ad.

Bill Golding did the radio voice-over. Media partners included TV3 and the Irish Daily Mail. ‘‘No money whatsoever changed hands on this,” said Gervaise Slowey, managing director of Ogilvy & Mather.

The visuals in the ads are based on wishes expressed by real children who have come to the Make-a-Wish foundation. Children are asked who they wish to be, where they wish to go and whom they wish to meet.

The charity said it had been overwhelmed by the response to the campaign to date, and is reporting a massive surge in interest from people wanting to donate their time. Calls are being routed to a call centre in Cork which is also giving its time for free.

Make-a-Wish said it has also been contacted by potential corporate sponsors and by many families whose children would like to have their wishes granted.

The campaign’s two chief initial objectives, Hayes said, were to raise awareness of the charity here and to build its profile in the corporate sector. The campaign should receive more than €1 million-worth of advertising space in the next 12 months, Hayes predicted.

Already, the ad space donated amounts to some €500,000.

Original source