In a first, BBDO New York has brought together three of its clients to help deliver a unique 60-second commercial message designed to help raise awareness of autism and encourage parents to look for early signs. April is Autism Awareness Month, and the spot aired today on CNN. It will continue to run online via YouTube and Undertone.
BBDO, a unit of Omnicom, brought together clients Campbell Soup Co., AT&T Wireless and Johnson & Johnson to create the spot with the primary message that “Early diagnosis can make a lifetime of difference.”
The spot is made up of four 15-second commercials that tell the story of one family’s journey of coping successfully with the challenges of autism from infancy to young adulthood. A young man with autism and his real-life dad are featured in the commercial.
Also participating in the effort was the autism advocacy group Autism Speaks, which was founded in 2005 by Suzanne and Bob Wright, the grandparents of a child with autism. Bob Wright is the former CEO of NBC Universal.
“Autism affects around one in 68 children in the U.S.” said Andrew Robertson, President and CEO, BBDO Worldwide and a member of the Board of Autism Speaks. “However, research reveals that with early diagnosis and early intervention, behavioral therapies can improve outcomes.”
The ad encourages viewers to visit the Autism Speaks Web site for additional information about the condition and the group’s work.
“This message has been months in the making and is a new approach that we’ve never seen before,” said Bob Wright. “It challenges the conventions of how people consume media today. We thank BBDO for having uncovered such an innovative way to share the vital importance of early diagnosis.”
While the ad provides a public service, and BBDO’s work was pro bono, technically it’s a paid commercial announcement as the time on CNN was purchased.
“Campbell’s foods and beverages have played a role in life’s moments for generations,” said Yin Rani, vice president-integrated marketing at Campbell Soup Company. “We value the close relationship we have built with families over our 145 year history.”
Esther Lee, SVP Brand Marketing & Advertising at AT&T, said, "As a company and brand, AT&T believes that you have to rethink possible to drive human progress. That's what early diagnosis represents for children with autism.”