Famous wrestler Muhammed Ali said it best – service to others is the payment you make for your space here on earth
As creative professionals, there is work we do for ourselves (we kid ourselves when we say, we are doing it for the clients because the client rewards us richly in terms of money) – and there is work that we do for others, completely selflessly. Pro bono ads obviously fall in this latter category of work.
Originating from a Latin phrase, pro bono means done for public good without any compensation. A good example of pro bono work is when six Deloitte firms shelled out $3.5 million for a United Nations Development Programme to help countries devastated by the 2004 Tsunami. Then when a bunch of architects in New York City got together to design libraries for schools in underprivileged districts in respond to a call made by the Robin Hood Foundation – that was also a good example of corporate pro bono.
Ad agencies, across the world take up such Good Samaritan’s work. Ogilvy and Mather, for instance has a whole online gallery of such campaigns (http://www.ogilvy.com/#/The-Work/Galleries/pro_bono.aspx) that have an entirely different quality to it, and the reason for this is not difficult to guess. When an agency wraps its head, heart and soul around a worthy cause, it usually rises to the occasion and surpasses itself; setting new quality benchmarks for itself.
I remember one of the most arresting pro bono works that I experienced was the 2006 “Mother-Son” outdoor advertisement by O&M’s creative director Sumanto Chattopadhyay for The Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption & Child Welfare with the subtext, “Adopt you will receive more than you can ever give.” The visual had a young girl cradling her miniature foster father in her arms. No marks for guessing who is the child in this situation.
Pro bono implies you have a responsibility towards the society you are a part of. It means pledging your professional services for free for a cause to those who cannot otherwise afford them. It also means that you don’t just work for your agency – or even for your portfolio – you also work for a larger cause, because it can use your creativity in effecting change.
We know of a client who daily sends out good morning video messages to his clients – what a great way to connect with prospects. But imagine the impact of this gesture, if he were to continue to do this for an agency that can actually benefit from these business contacts!
Pretty ads get awards, but what really works are the smiles that pro bono ads get. A truly creative person would love that!
Therefore, if you are doing some good work and need design or words to get your message across, approach us and we pledge to do our bit in making this world a better place to live in!
Now, howz that for an idea?