Young ad professionals group develops project for Mission |

Young ad professionals group develops project for Mission

NNBW staff

A pro bono advertising campaign developed by young advertising professionals seeks to deepen awareness of the role of Reno Sparks Gospel Mission and build understanding of the issue of homelessness in the bargain.

Ad2Reno, an advertising professionals group for the under-32 set, chose the mission from a group of 30 applications for the campaign, says Melissa Molyneaux, public service campaign chair.

While other applicants arrived with media kits in hand, Gospel Mission Executive Director Rick Redding showed up without props. But, Molyneaux says, “He knew the mission like the back of his hand.”

A second reason for the selection, she adds, was because, “We had thought of the Gospel Mission as just a soup kitchen.” After the group conducted a public survey it learned that the public, also, knew only the soup lines.

“Here in northern Nevada, the homeless issue is a big one,” she says. “The challenge in this project is to overcome the image of a soup kitchen.”

After a couple of visits to the mission, the advertising professionals realized that homeless people aren’t anonymous.

“They each have a name,” Molyneaux says. “Rick knows them as persons. He knows them all by name.”

Creative concept for the campaign centers on a common visual: A name tag: “Hello, my name is Faith.”

But what follows that name “and I’m an addict” is crossed out.

“It’s designed to change the image of the homeless as faceless entities,” says Molyneaux. If they’re viewed as individuals, she adds, the community is more likely to support the mission through charitable donations or with support of its thrift stores.

Print and broadcast ads will roll out this month.

A public relations event, “Changing Lives Day,” will take place Dec. 12 during the noon hour at West Street Plaza, where blank, oversized nametags will be posted for people to write messages. Those will comprise a Wall of Hope exhibit, to be maintained by the City of Reno.

To measure campaign results, Ad2Reno will count number of volunteers, donations and press coverage. It will also conduct a second survey to determine if public perception of the mission has changed.

Ad2Reno members will present the campaign in book and presentation format at the American Advertising Federation Conference in Atlanta next June.


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