It seems that every business needs some sort of advertising to make them stand out from their competition. Even non-profits for bone marrow donation.
DKMS Americas, a worldwide organization that facilitates bone marrow transplants for people with blood cancer, among other serious diseases, recently sent out a request for proposal to some of the biggest advertising agencies in New York. According to Adweek, some of the agencies competing for the DKMS business are Grey, TBWA/Chiat/Day, SS+K and Vitro, in the areas of creative and media for both the U.S. and U.K. markets. One person per ten minutes dies from blood cancer every ten minutes in the United States alone and even more perish worldwide.
WHO WILL PAY FOR IT?
While DKMS is a non-profit, it claims to be the largest bone marrow donation center in the world. It will rely upon donated media time and corporate partners to pay for the media, with an estimated value price tag of $20 million per year. However, the creative work on this bone marrow campaign will not be pro-bono for these agencies, as this has been described as a fee-based assignment—which may explain why so many of these big agencies who run campaigns for major Fortune 500 companies have been aggressively trying to land the business.
WHAT IS THE GOAL?
While most advertising is to get more business and in the case of a non-profit, to get more people to donate, this doesn’t appear to be DKMS’s primary goal through this campaign. Rather, it’s to raise awareness about the victims of diseases related to bad bone marrow and to help find people who can be life saving matches to donate in hopes of saving a life. With a strong advertising campaign running worldwide, this should have a much broader reach and, in theory, draw in more donors then the 3.6 million who have already donated to the DKMS cause.
This is a true strategic challenge for these agencies, who are seasoned in helping their clients sell a product. In this case, selling is not the goal but rather a memorable slogan or series of images that will make people think about the cause and consider donating their own time, marrow or money.
What’s most unique about this project for any of these large advertising agencies who are competing for the work, is that they will be coming up with creative copy for a noble cause, yet also being paid for their efforts. While some people may consider this to be a conflict of interest for a non-profit, paying the agency will encourage them to create better work.
The final presentations from the four major advertising agencies are slated for mid-September, with the winner of the account to be announced shortly thereafter.