12. UNICEF Tap Project

Sometimes you hear about something that gives you a little more faith in humanity. I heard about this in Creative Strat, and it inspired me. When Droga5 heard about the UNICEF Tap Project, they were inspired as well, and acted on this inspiration.

The UNICEF Tap Project asks restaurant-goers in New York City to donate $1 for the water that they would normally be given for free. This money goes towards providing safe, clean water to children in impoverished countries. Droga5 took on the advertising aspect of the campaign, free of charge. Deb Morrison, my advertising professor, has spoken of this generosity as one of the tenets of the advertising world. Generosity of time, money, and ideas—we must let go of our egos in order to create the most powerful work. As Deb claims, the men at 72andSunny proudly work under this banner of “Ideas over Ego.”

Droga5 made this promotional video that was both beautifully designed and sends the message directly to my easily-pulled heartstrings. For a prominent advertising agency like Droga5 to take this on for free was enough to get my attention. However, they’re not the only ones helping out with the Tap Project—MediaVest USA, American Express, Zagat Survey, OpenTable, SeamlessWeb, and Yelp, Inc. also offer free advertising and publicity for the cause. Other aspects of the campaign included eBay’s “GivingWorks,” which gave eBay customers the ability to donate some of their eBay profits to the cause, and “Celebrity Tap,” which auctioned off tap water from celebrities’ homes.

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There is a misconception that advertisers sell sex and lies simply to make money. That’s not what we’re about. I have only experienced generosity from the professionals I’ve met—even those who don’t need to be. Scott Bedbury was generous enough with his time to put together a presentation for us that was incredibly inspiring and insightful. Agencies like Droga5 are smashing that “Mad Men” myth through its work with UNICEF, and I hope that others follow suit.

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