Work of the Week: When agencies do good

The best creative, curated

By Elliot Leavy

This week’s work of the week features great creative for charities, helping causes ranging from motor neurone disease to people smuggling.

It’s got me thinking about the benefits of agencies engaging in their own form of charity – by working with some clients on a pro bono basis. Apart from the altruistic benefits to the world, what good does doing good in the world do for agencies?

For smaller agencies, pro bono work allows them to flex their creative muscles, often landing them higher profile clients than they would normally be dealing with.

Pro bono work is also proven to have a net positive effect on morale in the workplace. At a time where talent is leaving the industry and a company’s values are valued higher than salary, such work is immeasurably important for retaining the right talent.

Then there is the practical effect on talent themselves, for pro bono work often provides an opportunity for lower-level creatives to do great work. In this, agencies not only get to do something beneficial to the wider world but also provide an important step up for talent that may otherwise go unnoticed.

Perhaps the strongest pull for pro bono is the opportunity for more unbridled creative. The dynamic between agency and the pro bono parties is clearly quite different to that of a fee-based relationship. Marketers seeking pro bono support are understandably grateful for the agency’s help and may be more accommodating to bold creative ideas.

This, of course, doesn’t mean agencies can ignore the client’s objectives: which are often much more serious than that of a usual client brief. When it comes to advertising life-saving donations, for instance, an agency can’t afford to risk compromising effectiveness.

But while many may struggle with the darker subject matter of a charitable brief, it undoubtedly brings benefits to the agency’s creative output and wider overall culture. That said, then, when it comes to pro bono work, the benefits to all are clear.

With that in mind, here is this week’s best creative – pro bono or not, they demonstrate the power of agencies’ creativity to make a positive difference.

People Smuggling Ltd’, Amnesty and VCCP

Amnesty International launched an anti-Nationality & Borders Bill campaign that claims it will criminalise asylum seekers.

The creative satirises Amnesty’s fundamental perceived flaw in the bill – that it will benefit people smugglers, not those seeking safety in the UK.

Spread Your Wings’, South Western Railway and St Luke’s

St Luke’s urged audiences to spread their wings this week in its debut campaign for South Western Railway.

The creative, designed to remind people of all the things they’ve been missing out on during lockdown, is a sentiment that will clearly resonate in a world where travel has been so greatly restricted over the past years and coincides with what many travel agencies are suggesting is a return to pre-Covid levels.

Feelgood Health Roadshow’ AXA and Fallon London

Fallon London released some innovative OOH which aims to bring a little sunshine into the dark days of winter.

The OOH features three huge, 4.7-metre-high table lamps fitted with SAD bulbs to help alleviate the winter blues.

London Fashion Week’, Lucozade and adam&eveDDB

Lucozade announced a collaboration with iconic fashion house Sports Banger to launch a bespoke clothing range of T-shirts and tracksuits. When it comes to fashion, advertising still has much to learn – we asked some of the industry’s best and brightest what exact form that can take.

I Will Always Be Me, Various and VMLY&R

This campaign involved Dell Technologies and Intel working in partnership with the Motor Neurone Disease Association and Rolls-Royce to help those suffering from motor neurone disease (MND).

The campaign blends technology, corporate good and creativity to bring actual change to those who need it most.

As Wayne Best, CCO, VMLY&R New York said: “Through the power of creativity, collaboration and technology, we’ve created an advanced voice banking tool that solves a complex problem in the simplest and most human way possible.”


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