Thursday, November 21, 2002

Ad campaign almost
like hitting the lottery

The Arc in Hawaii is the envy of many a nonprofit organization, because it has been chosen by Ad2, an organization of young advertising professionals, for its annual pro bono advertising campaign.

Valued at more than $500,000, the campaign "is something we could never in our wildest dreams afford," said Garrett Toguchi, executive director of The Arc in Hawaii.

Adding allure to the annual campaign are the awards Ad2 has received for its previous work, including a national award last year for Hale Kipa.

Ad2 Honolulu has chosen The Arc in Hawaii as its pro bono campaign client for 2003. Left to right, Allison Tanaka, Mark Morimoto, Garrett Toguchi and Drucilla Burrows of The Arc, and Tom Nauwelaerts of Ad2, Ryan Kawamoto of Kinetic Productions and Celeste Chikamori of Ad2.

"The Arc nationally is a well-known organization, it has chapters all over. In mainland states there are more chapters. The Arcs are more active, politically and through educational activities," he said.

Hawaii's Arc chapter will soon have its day in the sun.

The local organization has been around since the 1950s, first as the Association to Help Retarded Children, then as the Association for Retarded Citizens, then as ARC. About 15 years ago people within the organization lobbied members to change the name again.

"It's not nice to be called 'retarded,'" Toguchi said.

The name was changed to its current form to help preserve the identity and dignity of the people The Arc in Hawaii serves.

"The Arc's mission is to change the community's attitude toward people with mental retardation so they are able to be included in society," Toguchi said. "The first thing we work on is attitude."

Toward that end, once the selection was made, Arc and Ad2 got together for a sort of mixer.

"Since then the committee has been meeting with staff and getting to know the people we serve," Toguchi said.

"They've done a lot of work on their own in terms of research," he said. "In a short period of time they've come to fully understand the dignity of identifying with people instead of labels."

That will be the thrust of the ad campaign, the beginnings of which the Ad2 public service team has presented to Arc executives. Print ads will follow, as will a year's worth of public relations work, a logo redesign and Web site creation.

The logo and the Web design came as complete surprises to Arc officials, who made no request for such services.

The Arc was among about 25 applicants for this year's pro bono campaign, according to Ad2 co-President Jeela Ongley. She is also owner and president of Golden Bee Media.

"The public service team went through and judged (applicants) based on need primarily, and what we would be able to bring to them," she said.

It was a difficult task.

"We get so many worthy applicants every year and there are so many nonprofits that just don't have money to put into something as huge as an advertising campaign," Ongley said.

Ad2 Honolulu is made up of advertising industry professionals age 32 and younger; its enrollment fluctuates between 50 and 75 members.

"The public service campaign is a really important kind of rallying point for all our members," she said.

Ad2 and the Hawaii Advertising Federation have organized and will split the proceeds from an auction on Friday. Newspaper, magazine, radio and television advertising and production companies have donated services to be auctioned as a fund-raiser for scholarships, internships, training seminars and public service campaigns, such as the one for The Arc.

The Arc hopes the campaign will accomplish a sweeping attitude change toward people with mental retardation. Toguchi said in addition to a shift in general public perception, "we're hoping this campaign will also help policy makers identify the need to continue to provide funding for services for people with mental retardation, because it's one of those easy programs to cut.

"It's hard to see the connection between the people receiving services and the funds, but it really does affect a lot of people's lives. The more independent we can get people to be, the more employable people with disabilities are and the more they're able to find jobs, not just taking all the government benefits," he said. "They're people earning incomes and paying taxes. There's an economic engine there."

The campaign will be unveiled early next year.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin.
Call 529-4302, fax 529-4750 or write to Erika Engle,
Honolulu Star-Bulletin, 500 Ala Moana Blvd., No. 7-210,
Honolulu, HI 96813. She can also be reached

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