Inside Leo Burnett Change

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Alice Hooper is Board Account Director at Leo Burnett.

In 2011, Alice went on a placement with The International Exchange, an organisation which places communications professionals in positions with NGOs in need of their skills. On her return, she co-founded Leo Burnett Change, a specialist division of the Leo Burnett Group, dedicated to not-for-profit communications. 

First of all, what is Leo Burnett Change?

Leo Burnett Change is a division of the Leo Burnett Group specialising in not-for-profit and behavioural change communications. At present, Leo Burnett Change works with the RNLI, Plan UK, The Multiple Sclerosis Society, Tommys and with Business in the Community.

You competed in the White Pencil brief for Peace One Day. How did you convince the team that it was worth spending resource on the White Pencil project?

To ensure we got a creative response worthy of the project, we held an all-agency briefing. We encouraged the entire agency to form completely new teams, ideally comprising Creative, Planning and Account Handlers, working across disciplines and divisions. Over 25 teams took part,  and we whittled it down to a final shoot out of two. The response from the entire Agency was fantastic and the buzz around the campaign was huge.

What was your campaign for the Peace One Day White Pencil Brief?

Leo Burnett Change’s campaign for Peace One Day was entitled “Missile for Peace”. 

Watch Leo Burnett's 'Peace One Day' Corporate Good Marketing Campaign

We created an integrated campaign, including a bespoke website, outdoor awareness campaign and social media to promote Peace Day on 21 September 2012. Our solution was to make the abstract concept of peace tangible for people by tackling its enemy: hatred.

By symbolically destroying examples of hate – such as racism, trolling, conflict and war – the idea was both to drive mass awareness and to encourage people to take a moment to engage with the subject of peace.

What does the D&AD White Pencil mean to you?

The D&AD White Pencil is a fantastic beacon that demonstrates to the industry and to our clients that we care about doing good, as well as making good work. 

It was a timely introduction that mirrors the quantum shift many Clients are making to a world in which doing good must go hand-in-hand with a more traditional definition of success, be that making a profit, or winning awards.

Beyond charity clients, does Leo Burnett Change have the power to pressure other clients to think about ways they can behave more ethically? Is this a risk for an agency?

We wouldn’t want to pressure clients to behave more ethically, but we certainly can try to encourage existing clients to do so. It is our belief (supported by an ever increasing body of research, and fantastic clients such as Unilever) that not only can brands behave ethically and demonstrate commercial success, but that they will need to do so in order to benefit from increasingly discerning and wary consumers. 

We are increasingly having conversations around future-proofing brands. As guardians of our clients’ brands, gone is the time when we can pretend that how they behave ethically doesn’t matter to how they are perceived publically: we believe this is a skill-set agencies urgently need to become more proficient in.  

There is certainly a move in the right direction, although we would like to see more of a seismic shift rather than a gentle shuffle. As an industry, we believe we need to keep up with these front-runners, otherwise we risk being left behind.

This year D&AD White Pencil Nominees will be eligible to apply for a placement with TIE. Can you tell us about your TIE experience.

I went to Recife in March 2011 to work with CPP (Comunidade dos Pequenos Profetas), an organisation that works with street children in Recife, a very poor region in North Eastern Brasil, where street children proliferate the capital. Not only are the conditions in which they live beyond our Western comprehension, but they face the very real and daily threat of death squads - self-styled vigilantes who set about freeing the streets of these unwanted figures, particularly if they have offended local gangs. 

CPP offers relief to the street children in two ways. Firstly, they have a safe house in the capital where children can go in the morning to wash, eat and partake in lessons- reading, writing, art, dance and craft. Secondly, they have a farm 40km out of the city, where those with the most severe drug addictions, and those targeted by the death squads, can be kept safe.

Take a Look at CPP's Safe House for Street Children in Recife

My task was to work with local Recife advertising agency ARCOS and CPP to develop a campaign to help CPP and to help the street children. Very few people were aware of CPP so we realised we needed to raise the Charity’s profile. 

Within the month, we hosted a high-profile event in the capital, attended by local journalists. For the launch we created an animated TV commercial, a range of posters and leaflets and an exhibition of the CPP children. Our creative idea was “Dreams are for everyone” (“Sonhar é para todos”). We had learnt that all the children had dreams so much grander than the lives they had been presented with, and through CPP, they could start to believe those dreams were possible again, and start striving towards them. We sought to encourage the public that with their help, the street children of Recife could again expect to follow their dreams. 

CPP still use the work created for the launch, and one of the best outcomes of the event was that the workers and children of CPP were made to feel important and had a right to aspire and to dream.

What can future volunteers expect to gain from a TIE placement?

Hard work and huge reward. It will open your eyes to realities you couldn’t have conceived of before. But at the same time, hopefully, you will also have your eyes opened to possibilities you could not have dreamt of without the chance to step away from the day to day and to engage 100% in helping others for a month. It’s a great opportunity and I know my life would not have taken the path it has if I hadn’t gone to Recife on a TIE placement. Most obviously, I wouldn’t have had the idea for Change.

D&AD Impact seeks to identify and celebrate great, transformative ideas that contribute towards a better, fairer and more sustainable future for all. If you think you have a campaign that makes a real and positive difference to the world then why not enter it into D&AD Impact.



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