“The difference United Way makes in our community is ongoing all the time, not just during the annual fund-raising campaign,” he said.
The United Way, which has no paid media budget, invited members of the print, broadcast and Internet media to learn about the upcoming campaign, and to encourage them to help get the agency’s message out.
The 2006 Torch Drive will kick off the morning of Sept. 8 with a torch lighting ceremony at Hart Plaza. That same day, the 10th annual United Way Road Block — a blitz of public service announcements — will run on radio and television. The agency is asking radio stations run the PSAs at 7:58 a.m. and for the television stations to run them at 6:58 p.m.
This year’s campaign is called “Signs.” Ads will include street signs as a visual representation of what the United way contributes to the everyday lives of individuals and recipients in the community.
Jan D. Starr, executive vice president and managing director of the Ogilvy & Mather ad agency, now in his fourth year as the promotional chair of the campaign, said the commercials will feature local United Way torchlighters and volunteers, and a strong call to action.
Print and TV ads feature a “one way” sign. In one, a caution sign featuring figures of a man and woman holding the hands of a girl between them, sits atop a “one way” sign pointing to the words: “we make families stronger.
Another ad shows a “safe neighborhood” sign above a “one way” sign, with the arrow pointing to the words “we bring communities closer together.”
TV and radio spots of varying lengths are narrated by actor Giovanni Ribisi, who donated his time.
There will be two sets of ads. One set, seeking help from the community, will run week of Aug. 14-Nov. 15. Then a series of “thank you” ads will run Nov. 16 through the end of January.
Wasserman described Starr as the linchpin of the communications and promotion effort.
Starr said there are many challenges: The local economy is still in recovery, and the United Way needs to break through the crowded competitive environment for charitable dollars, referring to The American Red Cross and The Salvation Army.
Starr also noted that United Way’s overall communication goals are to improve understanding and awareness of the United Way and what it contributes to the well-being of the community.
There will also be added focus on influencing employees who invest through their workplace programs.
According to Starr, the 2006 advertising messages will center around nurturing children and youth, strengthening families, empowering neighborhoods and communities, and promoting health and wellness.
Visit www.uwsem.org for additional information on United Way.
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