TV Runner-Up: "African Village Care"

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Thanks to the misdeeds of its former CEO and its CFO, Tyco had a reputation rivaling such corporate evildoers as Enron and WorldCom. "We suffered through what was as close as you can get to a reputation meltdown," said Jim Harman, VP-advertising and branding at Tyco.

"But what was different about us is that we survived. Tyco was always a viable, multi-industry company," said Harman, a former GE advertising executive who's helping oversee the reconstruction of Tyco's battered image. Tyco and its agency Hill Holliday Advertising, Boston, are sounding the right redemptive note in brilliantly produced TV spots that underscore the broadly diversified company's vital role.

Communication managers from Tyco's operating companies were invited to share stories of how their products and brands were playing an important and vital role in the world, Harman said. One suggestion inspired a 30-second spot called "African Village Care" that tells the tale of a how a doctor treated residents of an African hamlet. To ensure the safety of patients and health care workers, the doctor used a Tyco product-the Monojet Magellan Safety Needle. "But it was more than a story about a syringe," Harman said. "It was about a doctor in Africa who used it to help prevent disease."

Shot on location in South Africa, the commercial is a striking blend of storytelling, visually dynamic cinematography and stirring African-themed music. One of the goals of the spot and the broader Tyco advertising campaign was to create a sense of familiarity with the company that would evolve into favorability-to the point where targets would be willing to purchase or invest. "We have made significant progress with our key constituencies in terms of reputation," Harman said. M

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