Naked to lead Owen Glenn's social change crusade

  • Charity
  • December 6, 2012
  • Ben Fahy
Naked to lead Owen Glenn's social change crusade

After a competitive pitch involving six agencies, Owen Glenn has appointed Naked Communications to join the team of the ‘Glenn Inquiry’, an initiative funded by the businessman and philanthropist that aims to address the high rates of child abuse and domestic violence in New Zealand.

Naked will be responsible for all communications outputs from strategic development through to execution, including a national campaign that creates a social movement by calling on all political parties for change. 

Interestingly, there won't be a creative agency of record as Naked has also been contracted to deliver the creative output, and, in a sign of these increasingly collaborative times, managing partner Matt O'Sullivan says ex Droga 5 and now The Collective's Mike O'Sullivan is being brought on board at an executive creative director level. Digital agency Young & Shand has also been shoulder-tapped. 

The agency selection panel included Glenn and some well-known industry practitioners, including Melissa Fletcher (Ecostore and formerly of Warehouse and Westpac), Ruth Herbert and Jessica Trask (both of the Glenn Inquiry, formerly both of Ministry of Social Development) and Niki Schuck (Niki Schuck PR).

Glenn, who sold his OTS Logistics Group earlier this year and also runs charitable projects in India, where he was born, has committed $8 million of his own money to a community development project in Otara, which focuses on children and young people and aims to build stronger communities through education, sport and family wellbeing initiatives and tagged $80 million for his Foundation to improve the lives of children and families in New Zealand and to reverse the horrific statistics for child abuse and domestic violence in New Zealand, which are among the worst in the developed world.

“The Inquiry is committed to producing a blue print to reverse these statistics so we need an agency partner that is strategically strong and knows how to solve problems," he says. "Naked Communications proved that they are the best in this field. I was impressed with their understanding of the challenge and the recommendations they made, in particular around obtaining authentic engagement and harnessing this for social change."

O'Sullivan says opportunities to instigate genuine social change are incredibly rare.

“It’s not often you get to work on a project which will change the lives of New Zealanders and make such a positive difference. You have to put the traditional advertising rules to one side, and appreciate that consumer behaviour has to be spurred through interaction and self-belief. We’re also looking forward to getting a few friends involved in the next stages of the journey too, like the team from The Collective and Young & Shand.”

Since the Glenn Family Foundation was started more than thirty years ago, it has given an estimated NZ$33 million to causes around the world, including India, Macau, China, the Philippines, Nepal, Africa, the UK, the USA and, within the Pacific, New Zealand, Fiji, Samoa and Australia.

More recently, the foundation has focused its attention on two priority areas. The first involves large projects in education, health and sport in New Zealand; and the second involves child protection and village development in the Kalimpong region of West Bengal State in India (the Model Villages Programme, which was established eight years ago). 

In 2002, Glenn donated $7.5 million to the University of Auckland's Business School for the development of premises and facilities, which is thought to be the biggest private donation in New Zealand educational history. And in recognition of his gift, the complex, which was opened in early 2008, was named the Owen G Glenn Building. His initial donation was followed up with an additional $500,000 to establish the Barry Spicer and Owen G Glenn PhD Scholarships in 2008. 

He's also big on sport being used as a social tool and has given a series of big donations to the Auckland University of Technology for the high performance Millenium Institute, supported New Zealand Hockey for years and purchased half of the The New Zealand Warriors earlier this year.

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