Wednesday, December 12, 2007

A thought on Do-Good work

Like many agencies, we do pro-bono work now and again. And finding people who can devote their time and talents to a good cause usually isn’t all that difficult, especially if there is an opportunity to do good work there.

The thing that usually hangs it up is getting those things that have dollars signs attached to them. Like media time or space. That’s usually the real drag of doing that stuff ― you have to find people to donate out-of-pocket to make it work. A great ad or spot doesn’t do the organization any good if nobody runs it. “Sure, we can do an ad or a spot, but where’s it going to run?”

Reading through a variety of papers over the weekend gave me an idea.

(Up front, this is one of those ideas that I really don’t know yet how to make work. So there’s that right now. But it’s an idea. And if the Ad Club or someone was to take it on, I’d be willing to be one of those working to figure out a way.)

Look through any newspaper ― the Washington Post and Washington Times, The Examiner, The New York Times and even the suburban weeklies ― and you’re going to see a certain amount of filler and self-promotion. And you hear a lot of broadcast self-promotion too. Especially radio.

I’ve also seen dioramas and bus tails that run past their pull date.

That's space and time that might could be put to good use.

Maybe there is some way to create some sort of public service clearing house to make good use of that excess of unused space and time. Charitable organizations would have to register in some way ahead of time and have to have their ads or spots done and produced and ready to go on short notice, but when a publication or station has some remnant space, they can offer it up for public service.

Maybe it’s web based. There would probably have to be some sort of order so everybody gets a shot at it and there would certainly have to be some sort of time window, so the pub or station would have time to use some filler if nobody comes forward. No question about it, there are plenty of details to resolve.

But it might be worth working out, it the bottom line was be a way for more good causes to take their appeals to the public.

Just a thought.

1 comment:

Eric said...

I can't speak for newspaper or busbacks or diarammas... BUT!

Radio and TV (of which I'm intimately knowledgeable set aside inventory specifically FOR self promotion. So this isn't truly "remnant" of any sort.

Additionally, Radio and TV stations that do have "spare" inventory (the ones that aren't perpetually sold out) use any unsold inventory to run extra spots "pro bono" for their paying clients. IE scratch the back of those who scratch yours.

So long as the media outlets are publicly traded and every dollar is being watched (thanks wallstreet) it's unlikely that they'll be airing any more PSA's than they are legally obligated to.

You'd be surprised(or maybe not) how many times bonafide commercials are tried to be passed off as PSA's. Hey can't blame people for trying to get something for free.

Now you might be saying... gee what a bunch of scrooges. However what you will find quite often is a radio station or television station partnering with a cause to self promote and at the same time promote the cause. (two birds one stone) The caveat being that normally the partnership will need to be exclusive to a particular station or "Station Group" and that their is a way to make partnering with the cause into a money making opportunity for the media outlet via third party partnership. (Gotta look out for those stockholders)