Nada copy.jpgNathan copy.jpgSaatchi & Saatchi Australia this week unveils a groundbreaking campaign for pro bono client United Nations called 'The UN Voices Project' in which you can actually listen to an outdoor poster and press advertisement via mobile phone technology for what the agency claims is the first time. See the campaign 
Using an innovative new digital channel to connect and engage the public, the campaign features outdoor posters, print and online elements. These are combined to reinforce the message of giving a voice to those whose plight normally goes unseen and unheard.
People around Sydney are encouraged to take a mobile phone photo of the featured person’s mouth and send it to a number on the poster as a text message. Then using digital image recognition technology and an Australian first call back service, the sender receives a return phone call with a pre-recorded message from the person they have photographed, giving a brief insight into how they live and highlighting some of the issues they face. The message then directs people to a UN website where visitors can leave their own comments and thoughts, turning the original seven voices into thousands.
Says Saatchi & Saatchi CEO Simone Bartley: "The voices of this campaign tell an Australian story that is completely outside the experience of most people. It’s easy to tune out, to ignore the fact that many Australians face a life in which they suffer abuse, poverty or neglect. By creating new and exciting ways for our consumers to engage and interact with brands we’re able to ensure we remain at the forefront of creativity and effectiveness. This campaign has allowed us to do both for a great cause."
The campaign appears to be relatively simple in execution, yet is deceptively powerful and moving in its impact. Seven different posters have been set up around various sites in Sydney featuring people with a story to tell. These posters feature; Loula (a domestic violence survivor), Foday (a Refugee from Western Africa), Shannon (Aboriginal youth worker and activist), Nathan (a 13 year old born with HIV), Tony (a homeless man), Nada (a Muslim Australian) and Uncle Max (an Aboriginal Elder).
Conceived as a UN brand campaign, it is the first to combine several of the UN’s many causes and charities. It will initially be concentrated in the Sydney CBD with the option to expand throughout Australia and potentially worldwide, utilising Saatchi & Saatchi and the UN’s global relationship.
Says Paul Worboys, Saatchi & Saatchi’s Head of Digital and Direct: “Technology for technology sake is just not relevant today - however, using innovative technology that extends an idea to make it connect at a deeper level with a consumer, is.  And this UN Voices campaign is a great example of this in action."
All pro bono media space has been organised by Zenithoptimedia.

Project Name:   United Nations Voices Project
Client:  Abdullah Mbamba, UNIC’s Director, United Nations
Creative Agency:  Saatchi & Saatchi, Australia
Joint Creative Directors: David Nobay and Steve Back
Creatives: Vince Lagana and Steve Jackson
Business Management:  Simone Bartley, James Tracy-Inglis, Steven Lacy, Bree Lennon
Media Agency:  Zenithoptimedia  
Planner (media agency):  David Cook
Print Production Manager: Joe Churchward
Agency Producer: Kate Whitfield

Head of Digital and Direct – Paul Worboys
Digital & Emerging Media Creative Head – Brian Merrifield
Image technology: Brian Mead and Ghanum Taylor at The Hyperfactory New Zealand

Sound file Credits:
Director - Ralph Van Dijk
Production Company – Eardrum
Sound Studio – Sandcastle
Thanks to Gusto Music from Melbourne as well

Dialect – Ailsa James

David Knight
Sean Izzard
Petrina Hicks
Scott Newett
Tim Gibbs
Daniel Smith


Anonymous said:

I like the use of the technology but I don't know what the ads asking us to do. It just seems like it's highlighting issues... and then what? Ok, now I'm aware of HIV but you don't want me to donate. I know people are homeless now, so... what do you want from me? Even sending people to a website where there's still no real point or call to action. A reasonable idea that then flounders and falls over.

Anonymous said:

Great. Now when I wait for a bus in hot smell peak hour I can use my mobile phone to hear some one else's sad story.

Anonymous said:

You've got to be thrilled that layouts now talk P-man.

Anonymous said:

Digital & Emerging Media Creative Head - I wish agencies would stop coming up with these ridiculous titles.

Anonymous said:

Seriously who is going to bother taking a photo and then texting? The portrait style photos will just blend into the bland advertising environment which eveyone ignores. And then on the off-chance i pay attention to it, i still have to take a photo and text it in? What's in it for me? We're talking to jaded time-poor people here. It 's just not feasible.

Sorry but that's the harsh reality.

Anonymous said:

If it's not submitted into Cannes this year, I'll take it seriously.

They've been milking the UN account for metal for years now.

Anonymous said:

Great. Almost as good as Saatchi New Zealand's Wellington Zoo print work. That used the same kind of 'innovative' technology.

Anonymous said:

This is the same technology that ddb nz used recently...

Tripple A said:

Why would I want to listen to these stories.
What's in it for me?
Great technology.

Anonymous said:

Why not just do a radio ad?

Anonymous said:

Ok. thanks.

Anonymous said:

I agree with 6.05. Why on earth would I want to do that? I'm tired, I'm waiting for the bus, and now I get to hear someone's sad story? And for what? What can I do about it? Seems like technology leading the creative to me. All respect to the esteemed names involved, including those with six word titles.

Anonymous said:

lets just say, he was 35 and he worked in hospitality.

Anonymous said:

Well done for trying to do something that people will engage with. Unfortunately there is no insight here- people wont engage with it. Asking people to interact is much harder than just yelling at them. You'll need better ideas and better insights

Anonymous said:

The problem with us Ad type is that the only people we like to listen to is ourselves. Blogs like this are the perfect example. I bet if you replaced one of the portraits in this campaign with a photo of David Droga all you guys would be texting like crazy!
Get real people.
This is a big campaign, dealing with big real issues. By far the most interesting campaign i've seen in a while.
Well done UN and well done Saatchi's.

Anonymous said:

7(!) sites and no info or links from the UN AUS website. Some brand campaign... I guess the UN get what they pay for with their agency.



God, reading comments on this blog is grim.
You guys never have anything nice to say about anything.
Oh wahh, it's been done, it's a scam, it's blah blah blah.

Seriously, somebody somewhere, give these guys a blow job so they can chill the hell out and remember it's only advertising.

And as for advertising using any new technology, let's embrace it. Lord knows the impending recession will have us all working on brochures and POS.

Anonymous said:

Um...why not just print their story? Seems like the only difference between this and a regular ad is that the typographer didn't have to do much work. 'Wait a second...if I record the copy.... less kerning!'

Sorry guys, I just don't think you get points for using 'innovative' technology if there is no real point in using it. The BBC outdoor was poignant. This isn't.

Anonymous said:

Combined with portraits I hate to say this is just indulgently dull. If it were a war torn scenario of the street and you could download the gunfire and screams - you might get me.

Hang on - I might save that for my PS3 brief this arvo.

Anonymous said:

Hey, I might not think the ad's 100% and I doubt it was paid for but fucking hell.

I really think 'pushing the boundaries' in terms of technology / content ESPECIALLY with the bastards at adshel and JC decaux who think 'innovative media' is booking 3 metrolites in a row should be encouraged.

Lets hope the colgates and arnotts of this world are using similar technology in 3 years time.

As for the ad – when was the last time you saw a cool metrolite?

No, seriously. Don't pick one that you did.

barry crondyke said:

D mate it's not a big idea it's a crap idea which is sad for the people who really lose out. If it's the most interesting ad you've seen recently i hypothesize that your sex life neds some serious attention

Anonymous said:

Possibly the most long-winded way to give someone a voice. Technology for its own sake. Hardly exciting. Sorry guys.

Anonymous said:

For all the planning, money and time spent on this they could've actually done something that mattered and helped the people they're talking about, not their egos or PR.

I am still forever grateful to Saatchi's for the many gun campaigns they did a few years ago, because it was such an issue on our streets and they made me feel safe again.

Anonymous said:

I like the campaign idea but it's just to complicated for people to want to engage with it. Playing phone tag with a poster? This could have been simplified a bit.

I want to hear that persons voice while I'm looking at the poster -

Place the phone over the mouth of the person and connect a simple bluetooth download to the phones media player (that most phones have if they have a camera).

This technology already exist's, is simple and satisfies curiosity quickly.

Anonymous said:

Why do I get the feeling that these campaigns are done for the agency's sake as much as anything. Make it a global brand and it gives it some status for your Cannes entry - added motivation.
Add a mobile phone application and you get double whammy - telcos looking for income opportunities. Do they give the revunue from these calls to the project to distribute?
(Does Saatchi's have an active 'award opportunities' division matching up ground breaking technology with high profile 'global causes'?)
What about a campaign to help find a cure for the various 'awards diseases'.

Anonymous said:

Yeah that is all a bit messy as the message you have to send is a MMS (Multimedia message) that costs up to .85c and then a IVR calls you back. If they used MyClick they would be launched directly into a WAP page and the voice recording and picture or video would play for a small data charge.

Have you seen yet?

Anonymous said:

So, let me get this right.

I have to get my camera onto photo mode, take a picture, send it (which presumably I'm charged for) and then get some miserable story sent back to me, that I'll probably switch off after the first few seconds because it's so utterly miserable.

Much as I'm sure the stories are extremely sad and extremely relevant, shouldn't Saatchis feel a little ashamed and deeply dirty that they're now using aids victims to get a fucking Titanium?

And, for the record, a mate of mine's probably judging them this year, so I'll get him to report back on the video Saatchis are presumably making right now, talking about the incredible PR buzz they got, wonderful results and how Australia was changed for the better.

Watch this space.

Anonymous said:

Look mum, the emperor is naked!

Anonymous said:

March 11, 2008 10:21 AM:

No one works on PS3 briefs. Get back to St.George, monkey.

Anonymous said:

30 November 2004:

"Men are the key target in a new campaign aimed at increasing awareness of the level of domestic violence in the community that was launched by Saatchi & Saatchi to coincide with an international United Nation’s Day on the issue. The TV and print campaign created pro bono for the United Nations by Saatchi’s features...."

June 19 2006: Cannes

United Nations - Peace Message/Grenade - Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney
United Nations - Peace Message/Bomb - Saatchi & Saatchi Sydney

June 24 2004: Cannes Radio

Saatchi & Saatchi—United Nations' World Environment Day.

October 16 2005

"Saatchi & Saatchi’s United Nations ad, ‘Bad Mouth’, challenges the racist attitudes behind vilification in Australia. An Aboriginal man, a Muslim man, an Asian woman, a Lebanese man, a Jewish man, and an effeminate man each vilify people of their own sort. The finishing text: “It doesn’t make sense coming out of their mouths. Does it make sense coming out of yours??

December 12 2006:

"..the racism face cream spot was “directed by Tim Gibbs and produced by 8 Commercials, Sydney, for Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney, the commercial won the Silver Plaque at the United Nations Department of Public Information Awards in September.?

May 13 2006: Cleos.

United Nations - World Environment Day "Killed By A Car" (Saatchi & Saatchi, Sydney)

June 24 2004

"..UN offices around the world will now be free to adapt the ad - headlined "The Worst Piece of Copy You'll Ever Read" - and run it should they choose to do so. The Herald is the only newspaper in Australia to have donated space in its pages to run the ad and Saatchi did the work on a pro bono basis."

You've got to take your hat off to them, they're saints. Saints I tell ya.

Anonymous said:

It's innovative and some people may be intrigued enough to try it.

I just think, however, that it is too obsessed with 'new media' and 'integration.'

The power of press is its capacity to stop someone dead in their tracks with a compelling combination of words and pictures.

I remember that ad from Portugal from a year or so back of the battered wife with the husband's hand in front of her lips 'shooshing' her.

This doesn't come close to that in terms of stopping power.

Anonymous said:

So everyone loves this campaign then?

Anonymous said:

Cool idea, average content.

Anonymous said:


Basically, no.

As Paul Arden once said to me in London, pissed, "any fucker can do a charity ad, do an ad for soap and I might give you a job."

Oddly enough, he was CD of Saatchis London at the time.

Wonder what he'd think of the UN being used as a shameless award machine?

Anonymous said:

You would think us here at Saatchi's would learn by now, don't post your work on the CB blog unless you want you heart pulled out via your balloon knot by the creative critic that is advertising Australia.

Anonymous said:

Along with paying to send the photo, do you end up paying to listen to them talking?

i reckon you could take a photo of the Cannes judge's arses and hear them talking.

Anonymous said:

See other bro-bono ads get ripped to shreds here

Anonymous said:

If you really want to help all these unseen and unheard why not just give your message direct to Nobby and he can pass it on when he addresses the UN General Assembly or meets the Pope - much quicker than all this digital stuff, just not sure what category you'd put it in.

Anonymous said:


Alternatively, don't post it unless it's good.

Anonymous said:


Pull your heads out of your sphincters and acknowledge its strengths.

If this don't win metal i'll eat my binary hat.

I applaud you (cunts).

Anonymous said:

It's nice work and all that, no doubt. However, if advertising in general is headed for the 'long way round' methodology [ie making people text, call etc], then we're all fucked. Some big wig in London said the other day [in Campaign mag] that online is taking advertising back to the fifties. I think he meant that campaigns are now far too laborious in an attempt to be contemporary. Even worse, I reckon we do it for our ad peers and not the punter.

Great print is still the hardest to do, in my opinion. In it's simplest, traditional form, that is.

Anonymous said:

Back to the fifties 7.10, that's great news. I can't wait until it hits the eighties and then we can all grow pony tails, drive sportscars and get massive salaries! Happy days!

Anonymous said:

9:50 - Thanks Tucky.

Barry Crondyke said:

f**k this - enough about yous what about meeeeeee...ahmen.

Anonymous said:

Well here at Saatchis we haven't had a shooting in years and I haven't been called a racist pig in months/days, so I think our ads must be commended for that. In saying that however child slavery is on the rise and our drinking water still doesn't taste quite right.

And I just wanted to say "I love you all, what an awesome industry to work in".

Anonymous said:

Saw a live one people!

On my way home last night i saw one of the posters in Randwick. After all the talk on the blog i thought I'd give it a go.
Firstly, the poster looked great as a metrolite ... well it definitely stood out from the other shit around it anyway.
Secondly, the poster was simple to get. I photographed the mouth, sent it to the number and after about a minute my phone rang. very easy. And very impressive. I know alot of people have said why don't you just bluetooth the message ... but there was something very powerful about my phone ringing and receiving a call from the actual person. It was a lot more personal. And the message itself (HIV kid) was very positive and not all sad.
Can't understand all the negative comments.
Scam or not i was impressed.
My only negative ... the website is still under construction!

Anonymous said:

7:10. If you can get people to interact with your ad in some way then surely that is a positive. And every fucker has a mobile phone these days and they use it for more than making calls.
I still like simple posters the best, but this stuff is the future.
Well done guys. Nice, simple and rewarding.

Anonymous said:

To be honest, I think most of us are getting slightly tired of bubblegum dps ads, superglue ads and the endless 'pro bono' stuff kicked out by Saatchis flooding the award shows.

It's just a fucking metal prize for fuck's sake.

Ten years ago, a few of them might have got you a job. These days metal for a pro bono charity ad isn't worth the $350 it cost to enter.

Anonymous said:

Chances are Lynchy won't allow this message on the blog but most if not all ads featured on this site gets slammed. Look back through the archives. Even the poor students 'big' ad below got slaughtered. No a single word of wisdom.
Its just the way it goes.
Very sad.

Anonymous said:

You have to remember these ads are placed at bus stops where people have bugger all to do.

You have to remember these have run, unlike other 'posters' people are popping out for cannes.

You have to remember blogs can kill campaigns at award shows and i'd rather see Australia win than someone in Europe.

Don't be haters.

Anonymous said:

I don't know about that. If an ad's good, it gets through relatively unscathed and given the CB bloggers' stamp of approval. The latest Schweppes spot got the thumbs up, as did that recent NRL stuff via 3 Drunk Monkeys, as did Great Wall of China, the first Earth Hour campaign, plus Boony and The Big Ad.

Anonymous said:

Um, it's kinda just shitty really. Like, it's just not that clever. I really get the feeling the creatives have tried too hard to be smart , rather than the idea coming across as effortlessly clever. Y'know like thi\ose ads you're genuinely amazed by.

Anonymous said:

What a load of Old Tosh.

Grow up! and enjoy being privileged enough to be in a creative department.
Learn to help each other.

Anonymous said:

The general public will think it's bloody fantastic. Does that count for anything?

Anonymous said:

4:13, 4:20 kind of took the wind out of your sails.

Sure, a lot of comment on this blog is negative, but then most of the work press-released on the blog is, when all is said and done, trying a bit too hard to be a bit too cool for school. Designed I suspect for our peers, not the punters.

So when a brilliant, simple idea like the member recruitment campaign for the NRL which was posted recently comes up there isn't a single negative comment. It just charms with its wit and its lack of pretentiousness.

We all want every ad to be brilliant, and in a perfect world they would be. But most of them just aren't. The rest is spin.

Anonymous said:

Ok then. Where is all the good work from our so called hot agencies then? DDB, BMF, JWT (apparently), Clems melb etc, etc..... Are we saying they haven't done any good work? Most these agencies submit ads to and avoid the blog completely. They know that the industry can completely fuck over an ad. Saatchi's should know better.
For what its worth i really like the campaign.

Anonymous said:

Shit 4:20. For you to go all the way back to Booney and the Big Ad you must be struggling.

Absolutely nothing wrong with this campaign. Its diifferent and compelling and like 3:00 i tried it and it worked really well. nowhere near as complicated as the haters are making it out to be. I suspect the people who think its hard are those people who walk around with the latest mobile phones but have no idea how to use them. Checking a missed call is hard for these people.

Anonymous said:

11:23 I agree, and I don't think the ad is 100%.

But can you please post a blog of Australian outdoor (apart from the trains come from nowhere out of perth) that has a reasonable chance of picking up?

Not Hubba Bubba scam, real stuff.

Anonymous said:

Yes ... the NRL ad from Drunk Monkeys is good.

It was good the first time it was done for the NFL as well.

Anonymous said:

1) Nice work to the tool who dug up all the awards attributed to the UN client.

2) Yes, money from the calls is donated to the UN, it's in the Ts&Cs.

3) Yeah, you have just a print ad with their message in type, but it wouldn't be in the person's own voice.

4) All this talk of it being a scam for awards makes me laugh, aren't awards the driving force behind most creative's work these days, so you can all form a back-slapping daisy chain and marvel at how clever you are? It seems to be one of the few industries where people award each other for work they're paid to do. Perhaps they should start a reality TV show, God knows there's enough venomous bitches in the industry to make it a ratings winner.

Anonymous said:

I love it.

I tried it last night, really simple... take a pic, send a message and a donation goes to the UN. The story was incredibly powerful.

Anonymous said:

As an ex-Saatchis Sydney employee, I can say with a certain amount of experience that that at no stage were we even vaguely interested in the causes concerned.

We had an ideas wall, and we had to win metal.

Whether it was a POS beer campaign or a dying aids victim, if it looked good enough to win something, everyone got excited and we found photographers to shoot it.

There. My catharsis is complete. And yes, I'm enjoying my new agency.

Anonymous said:


Sounds like you are one of the few at Saatchis who never won a thing. Even with all the support you received. Why else are you so bitter?

Anonymous said:

Clearly you weren't vaguely interested in the causes concerned.

Anonymous said:

As another ex-Saatchis Sydney employee, I can say with a certain amount of experience that even better than the ideas wall was the lookalikes wall, which was comprised of shots of people torn out of magazines and newspapers that usually bore an uncanny resemblance to agency staff.

It was piss funny.

Anonymous said:

The campaign is primarily concerned with increasing the awareness of the plight of the featured people.

Saatchi&Saatchi should be congratulated for taking a stand and putting their resources, time, and talents into a campaign that will hopefully change peoples lives for the better.

And if they should win an award in the process, they deserve it.

Anonymous said:

Unbelievable you guys, reading all this, so caught up in who you are - arrogant, bitter , negative - someone says 'what about using real people' ....guess what, these people are real and maybe your problem is that you are not .No, they're not manufactured victims that advertising no-brains think appeal to the wider public - they are actually the real thing and curious as it might seem, real people are interested in listening to someone who is just like them, heaing stories that resonate, that somehow make them feel that they're not different to anyone else - the manufactured plastic of advertising have called the shots to date creating victims that they think appeal -but that's over now

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