Ad Council Works With Big Brothers Big Sisters

Publicis Modem Creates 'Start Something' to Drive Fundraising Effort

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Coinciding with the 10th annual National Mentoring Month this month, Big Brothers Big Sisters has launched "Start Something," inviting adults to support mentoring to help children facing adversity. The campaign was created pro bono by Publicis Modem and Naked Communications in conjunction with the Ad Council.

This is the organization's first campaign actively seeking to raise funds. "Start Something" encourages adults to visit to donate, share mentoring success stories or volunteer. Big Brothers Big Sisters estimates the cost of matching a child with the right volunteer and managing the relationship through ongoing monitoring, training and support for the mentor, the child and the family averages about $1,000 a year—more in larger cities.

"Start Something" debuted last year with a website redesign and local pilot agencies, and is now being expanded through national TV, radio, print, outdoor and online public service ads from Publicis Modem. Naked Communications conducted research to come up with the campaign strategy, which uses real-life stories to highlight the program's achievements and encourage donations.

AOL, Facebook and Microsoft Advertising will support the PSAs, while Comcast, a national corporate partner of Big Brothers Big Sisters, has pledged more than $3 million in PSA media time and online media this year. PR firm Allison & Partners donated more than $150,000 in services to promote "Start Something."

Also helping the organization raise funds are national corporate partners American Eagle Outfitters, The Gap, Jack in the Box, Neiman Marcus, Beiersdorf's Nivea and Subaru of America.

Big Brothers Big Sisters first worked with the Ad Council in 2002 on a campaign to recruit volunteer mentors. In the effort's first eight months, mentor applications increased 75%.

"Previous campaigns that we have produced for Big Brothers Big Sisters have helped to dramatically increase applications to become a mentor," said Ad Council President-CEO Peggy Conlon in announcing the effort. "We believe this new creative developed by Publicis will have a similar impact in encouraging Americans to 'start something' and support their important work."

Philadelphia-based Big Brothers Big Sisters, established more than 100 years ago, is the nation's largest donor and volunteer-supported mentoring network. Its almost 400 agencies across the country serve more than 250,000 children. Most of these children live in single-parent and low-income households or have a parent who is incarcerated.

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