There are a few defining moments in every person’s life and career. The Child Injury Prevention Alliance (CIPA) gave me the opportunity to have one of those, and I am eternally grateful.
In my professional circles, the advertising and marketing community, I’ve developed a close group of colleagues. These relationships were fortified during the horrible recession that hit our industry hard. We stuck together as a community, and several of these people became more than friends or business associates. We came up with an idea that would not only help us, but also benefit a worthy cause.
The idea was for all of us to bond together and donate our time and talents in order to produce a free TV commercial for someone doing pro bono work in the healthcare industry. We called it the Greater Good Giveaway. It was a smart and very unique offering, because not many people are willing to work that hard for no money. Very few people would donate their time to something like this. However, our close-knit group had enough of a bond between us to make it happen.
We received a variety of applications, but we were really struck by CIPA. It was kind of a fledgling, shoe string organization, but it was focused on an awesome cause. The statistics they shared with us were mind-bending; more children perish each year from preventable injury than any other single cause! After raising four kids, I know all too well what impact a serious injury could have on a child and their family. We were set on CIPA. It felt good to think that we could help put this organization on the map and rally support for them. It felt like our work would make a difference to this group and not just be absorbed into some giant bureaucracy like many not-for-profits have become. It felt right.
As we got into the process of developing creative ideas and planning for production, reality set in. This was going to be hard to do. It would take sacrifice. You can listen in on some of our meetings and see the initial work that was done on STIR’s blog. But the appreciation we were hearing on the other end of the phone continued to make it worthwhile.
The shoot itself, in Jackson, Mississippi, was an amazing day. We had an entire crew of highly respected specialists from the motion picture industry who showed up to help. They trusted Jeff Tanner and Mike Fornwald enough to travel across the country and put in a 14 hour day for a charity they hadn’t even heard of before. My friends were there, and everyone was excited about making a piece of art. A thing of beauty. And most of all, they were thrilled to be doing something ‘good’.
Alyssa, our 10-year-old talent behaved like an absolute professional. I’m not one for getting overly emotional, but there was a palpable sense of goodwill and love for one another that was truly unique. Not one gripe or complaint. Just smiles covered in sweat all around.
After the shoot, the work went on for months at Independent Studios in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. There were many hours of editing, color correcting and sound design. Again, all of this was done without one hint of pushback or second guessing. This was such a unique experience, the best of my 30-year career. If you are interested in seeing the people who put this together, watch The Making of the Greater Good Giveaway.
As I mature (it’s been a long, slow process!) I am finding that the ability to give is really the greatest gift of all. And while I’m not in a position to write big checks, it felt even better to give of my talent and time. It was tremendously inspiring to see the unselfishness with which my colleagues gave of themselves. I might add that Tracy Mehan from CIPA was fantastic to work with (and kind of a kid in a candy store on the day of the shoot).
Now that we’ve delivered the final product to CIPA, we are all so pleased to see the ambition and hard work that the organization has displayed in making good use of the spot. They truly are doing great work at CIPA and I highly recommend you support this organization in any way you can.
© 2014 STIR, LLC
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