Charity begins at TVNZ, free ad space up for grabs

The scramble for free television advertising space is on after TVNZ announced applications are open for its CSR programme, which gives a handsome $50k worth of filler time every month for two years to four national charities or NGOs.
The Television New Zealand Community Support Foundation programme has given away more than $35 million in free advertising time on TVNZ’s channels over a period of more than 20 years. And the programme looks for charities and NGOs that, through their work, demonstrate the Kiwi way and lifestyle.

Peter Paraussini, TVNZ’s head of corporate affairs, says the filler time given is random and can be during the six o’clock news or late at night. There’s been many times when its been during the news, he says.

“Whenever there’s a spare slot—that’s what we call filler time—we automatically drop in one of the advertisements from the four charities,” says Paraussini.

Because the Foundation doesn’t provide support for producing the advertisements, Paraussini says the winning charities usually approach ad agencies for pro-bono work.

“Advertising creatives see it as a challenge for them to produce a cool ad which they can then put in for awards.”

Youtube Video Of course, there are mixed feelings about the worthiness of the so-called scam ad, the ones that are made for charities and rarely get seen. But there are plenty of positive examples, like Colenso BBDO’s pro-bono work with Land Search and Rescue New Zealand (LandSAR) to produce the volunteer organisation’s popular Yeti TVC that also drew a lot of attention on YouTube.

LandSAR chief executive Hadyn Smith says the TVC raised LandSAR’s profile, got the public talking about its brand and made an all important connection between the name LandSAR and the term “search and rescue”.

“It has made it easier for people to understand straight away what our role is,” says Smith.

Working with Colenso also connected LandSAR with other areas of the media which lead to it receiving pro-bono space from print media too. Sir Peter’s Weta Workshop created the giant yeti used in the advertising.

“Our donations for the year have gone up as well and we believe that’s a result of a higher profile thanks to the support of TVNZ, Colenso and all of our other suppliers. It’s been great to work with ideas people,” he says.

The applications for the TVNZ CSF programme close at the end of February 2011.

Paraussini says there will then be an internal assessment to select the charities that meet the programme’s criteria. A shortlist will then be drawn and a survey conducted among TVNZ staff to get feedback on which charities to choose. A final decision will be made in late March or early April and the free air time will start on 1 July.

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