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Monday, August 03, 2009

Campbell Mithun and United Way Partner to Change the Face of Poverty

Campbell Mithun’s new campaign for United Way, challenges people to “accept” poverty in their community

Who is the face of poverty? Poverty extends beyond a third world country or concentrated city block. Poverty is a single mom with mouths to feed, a recently laid-off worker in need of a paycheck or an elderly woman no longer able to care for herself. Poverty is all around and is a problem facing a growing number of people and affecting the long-term health and vitality of our communities. It is up to us whether we choose to accept or ignore it. Minneapolis-based advertising agency, Campbell Mithun has partnered with Greater Twin Cities United Way to develop “Connect with Poverty,” a new interactive campaign that demonstrates the changing face of poverty with a strong call-to-action.

“To my mind, we were up against two major issues with this United Way assignment. First, most non-profit work, however provocative and right-minded, leaves the viewer still wondering, ‘Ok, but what do you want me to do? How do I do it?’ Second, could we tap into new media capabilities to make the idea more relevant and actionable?” said Jonathan Hoffman, president and chief creative officer of Campbell Mithun. “I believe the ‘Connect with Poverty’ campaign answers both of these questions very effectively.”

In today’s economic environment, charitable organizations have been struggling to find the level of support needed for individuals within their communities. United Way and Campbell Mithun recognized this challenge, as well as how this recession has made poverty an issue closer to home, and sought to involve people through a series of radio, print and online advertisements, and via social networking sites.

“Knowing what we were up against, we set out to make it easier for people to support United Way than ever before. We tapped into the desire to connect with others through social networking to build a deeper level of engagement with United Way,” said Pete Leacock, vice president, account supervisor at Campbell Mithun.

The online ads state, “The face of poverty is changing,” then asks the user to either “accept” or “ignore” by clicking one of two icons. If the user chooses “accept,” they will then be prompted to the ConnectWithPoverty.org microsite, developed by interactive agency MRM Worldwide, where they are then able to further engage through donations, volunteerism or participation in the cause through United Way’s Twitter, Facebook and YouTube pages. Additionally, United Way will utilize a “text to give” feature on specific print executions and within the microsite, which will enable donations to come through via a text message.

“Thanks to the help of Campbell Mithun, this campaign allows us to reach out in new ways to raise awareness about the often-misunderstood issue of poverty in our local community, with a clear way to activate the audience to get engaged,” says Andy Goldman-Gray, vice president of marketing for Greater Twin Cities United Way.

Additionally, as part of the overall campaign, United Way will introduce the “LIVE UNITED in 2009” program encouraging participation by offering regular, cause-specific promotions throughout the campaign and encourage people to not only wear the t-shirt, but live the message by giving, advocating and volunteering. Each promotion highlights the greatest needs in the community by focusing on one of the ten “Agenda for Lasting Change” goals.

To “Accept” the “Connect with Poverty” campaign in its entirety, please visit www.campbellmithun.com/connectwithpoverty/.