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Autism message speaks through brand ads in brilliant CSR partnership

Posted by Tom Megginson | 28-04-2014 17:30 | Category: Health

Autism message speaks through brand ads in brilliant CSR partnership

The hardest thing for a PSA to do is to stand out in a crowd of commercial ads that are much better funded, placed and produced. BBDO NY and charity Autism Speaks decided instead to follow the classic advice “if you can’t beat ‘em, join ‘em.”

This series of ads begins with a PSA, then continues through ads by major consumer brands Band-Aid, Campbell’s and AT&T. Please, try to forget the unfortunate spoiler line in the intro, and try to imagine yourself seeing this commercial break while watching CNN (on which it premiered):

AdWeek’s Tim Nudd writes,

“It’s a high-concept idea, and there’s also a high degree of difficulty in the execution. You have four different scenes in four different time periods for four different brands—yet all of them are meant to effortlessly function as one in embodying (rather than relating) a noncommercial message the viewer isn’t expecting.

That’s a lot of moving parts, and a lot to ask of the viewer, which may be why the finished piece in some ways feels more conceptual than natural.”

It is certainly conceptual, but I think it holds together. The AT&T ad is the glue; while the other two ads show a slice-of-life that is more difficult to naturally associate with the overall message, the graduate speaks clearly to the hopes and fears of parents of kids with autism. The reveal, right afterwards, seals it.

Autism Speaks says, “we believe that one of the most important things you can do as a parent is to learn the early signs of autism. Studies show that early diagnosis and intensive behavioral intervention can make a lifetime of difference. So instead of just telling parents that, we decided to show them.”

As an insider, I’m a very critical consumer of advertising. But this strikes me as a really clever way to drive an important point home.

You can donate to Autism Speaks directly from the video link through YouTube Nonprofit Programme.

Autism Speaks
BBDO New York
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