Friday, June 19, 2009

I don't like U2, but I am working Pro Bono

Happy Father's Day, all you fathers out there. Sorry for the no-post. Daddy needs a vacation.

So, I've had the fabulous opportunity to do a fall recruitment campaign for the local Boy Scouts Council. One of the principals at our agency is on the marketing committee for the Dan Beard Council, and he volunteered WonderGroup to do the campaign pro bono. We're doing print, radio and TV, plus some yard signs, stickers and frisbees...err, flying discs.

Doing work pro bono is a really interesting experience, and is quite different from doing work for a paying client. On the plus side, at least for the creative team, is that the client seems very grateful for whatever you do. We gave them four Big Idea concepts, and they were blown away, just at the idea of having a choice. They're more than aware that they're getting a favor, even if its a mutually-beneficial one. The feedback we're getting is polite requests and suggestions, not the "I'm not buying this until you change it" requests you can get from a paying client.

Of course, getting polite suggestions takes the sting off the feedback, and makes us sensitive creatives more likely to consider it. More flies with honey, I suppose.

The downside to it is there is no money. No money to film TV, no money for a photographer. No money for props or talent. Everything must be done for favors. So far on this project, we've been lucky to get some favors from some really awesome people. However, my first TV concept was too elaborate for the no-budget, so we moved to a, still very elegant, but simpler approach.

This is all a win-win for me, though. I get some great work to put in my book. WG, being a primarily digital agency, doesn't do a lot of TV. I'm lucky to get two TV spots for my reel out of this, something a junior writer might not get otherwise.

So, all you ad-boys and ad-girls: Don't turn your nose up at pro bono work. It's fun, and different. All you have to do is follow the Cub Scout motto, and "Do your best."