In his 1889 novel A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court, Mark Twain wrote “many a small thing has been made large by the right kind of advertising.” And while this statement still rings true today, it’s somewhat disconcerting that most of the things advertisers magnify serve little more than a commercial goal.
However, once in a while, advertisers assuage the guilt associated with peddling icons of consumerism to pursue endeavours that have a more humanitarian undertone.
Last year, DraftFCB did this by offering 1,000 hours of comms expertise to not-for-profit organisations that were committed to reducing child abuse statistics in New Zealand, and now Whybin\TBWA is lending its creative talents to the cause of autism.
Whybin's thought-provoking print and outdoor campaign for Minds for Minds gives a polarised snapshot of how the perspectives of those suffering from autism differ from those of specialists studying the disorder.
This is the Auckland-based agency’s first pro-bono campaign for Minds for Minds, and Toby Talbot, the chief creative officer, says that it was important to get behind the cause because it affects 45,000 families in New Zealand.
“Minds For Minds is the first organisation to lead this research in New Zealand – it’s important we support them in their cause by making New Zealanders aware of what they’re trying to achieve,” says Talbot.
Professor Russel Snell, a Minds for Minds geneticist, is equally excited about the collaboration and believes the creative execution helps to demystify the disorder.
“The team at Minds For Minds believes Toby and his colleagues have done a superb job at putting challenges we face trying to decipher this mystery into a clever and engaging campaign,” says the professor.
In addition to developing the double-perspective campaign, Whybin\TBWA also updated the Minds for Minds logo.
Liz Kirschberg, the media contact at the not-for-profit, says that she was particularly impressed by the way the creatives at the agency grappled with the difficult theme to produce a smart campaign that’s also visually powerful.
“We felt the team working on the campaign really got into the deep and powerful themes underlying autism. Autism is not a disease of 'illness' like many other health issues. In some ways it is a disorder that speaks to us about what it means to be human ... The people at Whybin, especially our suit Jodi Willocks, understood this in the thinking they brought to the brief," she says.
"The logo itself reflects the two minds, the scientific working to understand the autistic – the concept was outstandingly simple but so powerful and effective.”
“Whybin’s work captured the duality of autism,” Kirschberg continues. And it thereby explains “the way in which people who have [the disorder] can feel they are functioning in a different, isolated reality from neurotypicals.”
Creatives: Smeta Chhotu-Patel, Tom Johnson and Tom Knighton
Head of design: Phil Kelly
CD: Lisa Fedyszyn and Jonathan McMahon
CCO: Toby Talbot
Account director: Mark Wilson
Group head: Jodi Willocks
Production: Ali Vernon
Print production: LightFarm Studios
Logo design: Lorenz Perry, Sarah Walter, The Namery