O&M plays Santa, hardsells adoption with IAPA

NEW DELHI: Here's another goodwill gesture for the season. Ad agency Ogilvy & Mather, in association with Mumbai-based non-governmental organisation (NGO) Indian Association for Promotion of Adoption and Child Welfare (IAPA), is running a multimedia campaign to clear misconceptions about adopting children.

Three TV commercials are presently being aired extensively in Star News and ESPN. Four print advertisements have appeared in Business Standard, The Hindu, The Statesman and Man's World. Also an internet banner was put up on Mid Day's website www.mid-day.com recently. The campaign was launched during the Adoption Awareness Week in mid-November.

O&M's senior creative director Sumanto Chattopadhyay says, “Running a campaign like this one is a challenge because of the complete lack of funding. The NGOs involved simply do not have the resources to pay for the development and media release of advertising like this. I wish corporates would realise the importance of issues like adoption and come forward to sponsor the public awareness messages.”

Chattopadhyay says the ads were placed in spaces donated by the owners of newspapers, magazines, TV channels, websites and hoardings. He says an effort is being made to extend the television commercial to several channels in January.

Commendably, those involved in the campaign - right from agency executives, photographer to the media companies - haven't charged any fees for the public service activity.

“There has been very little awareness about adoption in India. Indians hold all sorts negative perceptions about adoption. The communication strategy was simply to bring out the positive feelings inherent to adoption. Our campaign differed from typical public service campaigns, which tend to evoke shock or pity by portraying the sad plight of those it seeks to help. Instead, we dwelt on the positive side,” says Chattopadhyay.

"Also, experts say children should be told that they are adopted while they are still young. Hence, the creative idea of using soft toys representing animals caring for the young of other species lend itself to explaining adoption to children in a gentle," Chattopadhyay offers.

Apart from working for a social cause, Chattopadhyay says the experience of working without a brief or an aberration from hectic client-agency activity was a welcome change.

“Unlike most commercial clients, NGOs usually do not get caught up in unduly complicated and restrictive briefs. This results in more creative freedom. And, of course, the social cause benefits tremendously. These projects allow us to apply our creativity to something a little deeper than, say, selling soap. It is truly a win-win situation,” adds the creative professional.

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