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September 02, 2005
Ad Agencies Can Help Hurricane Victims. And Some Are.
It makes many of us sick to learn from very good reporting this week just how much our government leaders knew about the vulnerability of New Orleans, and the nation, was to a hurricane, yet did so little. How much political energy, money and capital has been expended on Terry Schiavo, protecting oil companies from being sued for contaminating drinking water and opening up an Arctic wildlife refuge for oil drilling? Now, how much has been devoted to securing a critical port and waterway for everything from gasoline to breakfast cereal, not to mention protecting the lives of 1.2 million people in a beloved and historic city? There's a lot of failure to go around. Will any of the Feds facing re-election admit any of it? Don't bet on it.
Now that's off my chest for the moment. Advertising agencies are generally viewed as nothing more than organized, high priced hucksters. But here is what one agency did, quickly, to dispel that stereotype. Austin, Texas shop GSD&M called the Ad Council on Wednesday morning, when the rest of us got the full picture of how awful the situation is, to volunteer to put together radio and television advertisements for the Red Cross.
By Thursday morning, the ads, which featured celebrities such as New Orleans native Aaron Neville, were done. Next, the agency is sending people to Louisiana over the holiday weekend with clothes and supplies for shelters.
As reported by the Austin American Statesman: "The ads show hurricane footage with a series of red minus signs, followed by the words "home," "electricity," "food" and "water." The next frame shows two people hugging, with the sign of the Red Cross and the word "hope," and a voice-over that says: "Hope is more powerful than a hurricane."
After 9-11, the Administration and many corporate leaders encouraged us to keep shopping as a response to terrorism. I'm still trying to figure that one out. In response to this calamity, I'd like to suggest that we all stop shopping so much and see if we can overwhelm the legitimate relief agencies like the Red Cross with aid.
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"...how much our gov't leaders knew about New Orleans..." Oh please. If anyone knew about the danger it was the residents to chose to live there--for generations. The last time I checked, it was not the unique responsibility of the federal gov't to subsidize the survivability of a horribly designed--excuse me, I mean "beloved and historical" city which has willfully and energetically gobbled up wetlands, enthusiastically courting imminent disaster.
The finger pointing begins at home, there is plenty of blame to go around. And let me know the next time (which will be the first time) that aid for any natural disaster arrives "in time."
Posted by: John DeBello at September 6, 2005 03:45 PM
To any displaced creative agencies in the Gulf Coast area...
The following is a call put out by the president of Brains on Fire, Robbin Phillips in Greenville, SC.
We have been watching, as I am sure everyone has, the complete devastation along he Gulf. And wondering what to do. This morning I had a thought.
Brains on Fire occupies a space in Greenville, South Carolina that is about 11,000 square feet. We have some extra space toward the back of our first floor that we are planning to use for future growth. There are about 10-12 office spaces in total, complete with a furniture system. I was planning on short term subleasing the space, but I would be happy to donate it to a design/creative firm that has been displaced. We would, of course, consider any business in need, but my thinking is someone might benefit from our resources and vendor connections.
We have two T1 lines (one for data and one for voice) and could probably add on some extra phone lines if needed. We might even be able to find some extra laptops among us. With the help of realtor groups in town, we could also try to find some temporary housing solutions.
If anyone out there knows anyone in the Gulf area that may need this offer, please pass on our name and contact information. And if there are any associations that might know of ways to reach firms in need, again, please feel free to forward this information.
I am sure right now it is all about safety and basic needs, but very shortly - I hope - it will turn to ??ow can we get back to work."
Posted by: Spike Jones at September 8, 2005 10:38 AM
I'm a regular reader of your blog and appreciate your views on most subjects. This one is particularly close to my heart, as I work at a non-profit humanitarian organization that is responding to survivors of Hurricane Katrina. We have been very effective in getting aid to some of the hardest-hit areas in Louisiana and have been, in effect, the health system in Jefferson Parish (south of the Big Easy). I respect the Red Cross and all it does for disaster victims. I want to remind readers of your blog that there are other worthy organizations in need of ad agency support. A group like ours doesn't have the time to focus on advertising when we're busy coordinating relief operations. If an ad agency came alongside us and offered to help put together an ad package like GSD&M did for the Red Cross, we would be elated!
Just saying this: The Red Cross is an easy organization to support. Don't forget about the little guys who are also doing some good in the world.
VP for Marketing Communications
Heart to Heart International
Posted by: Pete Brumbaugh at September 12, 2005 11:35 AM
Our condo in Lauderhill was hit by hurricane Wilma in 2005. Since them over 1000 unit owners have been living on the streets. FEMA stopped paying rental assistance in April of this year.
We need help in order to keep our homes from foreclosure. We need help to pay for the upgrade the City wants us to do. Because of the upgrade we are unable to move forward with the repairs.
ths insurance will not pay for the up grades we need help, I want to go home, but can not move in till the repairs are done.
can you help us please
Stonebridge Gardens Section Two Condos
Posted by: SANRA at May 1, 2007 09:01 AM