Ad 2 Honolulu girding for tsunami of applications for pro bono PR work


POSTED: Sunday, June 28, 2009

'Tis the time of year for nonprofit organizations that put service above self to chance 'um and apply for a free million-dollar public-awareness campaign.

The $1 million value is not a guarantee, but Ad 2's recent pro-bono campaigns have been worth that much or more.

The selected organization will receive a yearlong campaign including marketing, public relations, creative executions and advertising in television, radio, print and online.

Previous years' selectees' missions are as diverse as gradations of color in the rainbow. Some help people with disabilities or people in crisis, support education or the arts or provide food or health-care services to the needy.

Ad 2 Honolulu is itself a nonprofit organization of ad industry professionals age 32 or younger.

Usually flooded with applications each year, Ad 2's public service committee this year is girding for a tsunami due to the slumping economy.

“;I think even last year, it was very hard, because all of the organizations are very worthy, and I think it will be harder”; this year, said Tai Leong, Ad 2 Honolulu public service co-chairwoman and broadcast producer at Laird Christianson Advertising Inc.

She anticipates serious tugging and pulling of the selection committee's heartstrings as they read applications describing “;budget cuts and staff cuts, and you know they're in a more difficult situation than they've ever been in before—and have even less resources,”; she said.

“;Be thorough”; in filling out applications, she suggested, to give Ad 2 a clear sense of what the organization does, who it serves and what its challenges are.

Secondary to the campaign, Ad 2 Honolulu tends to win the national Ad 2 pro-bono campaign competitions, taking first place for five of its last eight campaigns, to the envy of many a mainland Ad 2 club.

Many have asked the local club how it receives such a high-dollar value worth of media space and time for its campaigns.

It is usually just a matter of asking, Leong said. However, beyond Hawaii's foundational generosity, many media executives in a position to donate were once Ad 2 members themselves, Leong said.

Erika Engle is a reporter with the Star-Bulletin. Reach her by e-mail at .(JavaScript must be enabled to view this email address).