Aussie concept Creative Spirit launches in US to create employment opportunities for people with intellectual and developmental disabilities

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 7.47.48 am.pngScreen Shot 2017-09-28 at 8.06.56 am.pngNon-profit launches new campaign created by Publicis NY during Advertising Week to drive participation. Based on the idea conceived by Australia's David Nobay, who launched Creative Spirit in Australia in 2011.

NEW YORK, NY - Creative Spirit, a non-profit organization that creates integrated employment opportunities for individuals with intellectual and development disabilities (IDDs), today announced its launch into the U.S. market. Creative Spirit is committed to creating a global movement, changing the face of what true diversity in employment looks like via advocacy, awareness and, most importantly, action for those with IDDs like Down Syndrome, Williams Syndrome, Autism, Asperger's Syndrome, to name a few.

Creative Spirit launched this week with a series of events during Advertising Week in New York. Creative Spirit's first advertising campaign called "The Pitch" created by Publicis New York, debuted at the D&AD Impact Awards Gala at Terminal 5 on Tuesday. The campaign was developed to drive awareness of the profound number of unemployed, and to compel companies to sign up. 

Andy Bird, Adrian Flores, David Nobay and Anthony Garretti created the campaign, which features some of the most awarded Chief Creative Officers in advertising in cameo roles, including Jeff Kling, Chief Creative Officer at Fallon, Jaime Robinson, co-founder and Chief Creative Officer at Joan Creative, Pete Favat, Chief Creative Officer at Deutsch, and Jeff Benjamin, Chief Creative Officer and Partner at Barton F. Graf. 

The campaign also features Creative Spirit job candidates with IDDs, who challenge these industry luminaries to pitch them on why working at their companies might be appealing. The campaign's sly sense of humor never panders or defaults to charity in-keeping with the brand's mission and voice. "We believe the optimism of the campaign matches the potential of these talented individuals. Hiring an individual with an intellectual disability is a privilege not charity," says Flores, ECD at Publicis.

Creative Spirit's mission is to dramatically decrease the unemployment rate among those with IDDs, currently at a staggering 85%, by expertly matching candidates and potential employers through proprietary matching technology and a supportive coaching model. Creative Spirit will begin with an aggressive effort to engage forward-thinking companies in the advertising, media, marketing and technology industries to generate 130,000 fair wage jobs by 2020.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 7.48.51 am.pngCreative Spirit, along with The ADVERTISING Club of New York, worked closely with partner companies, Rauxa -- the largest women-owned advertising agency in the US -- and Publicis New York -- a leading creative advertising agency. Creative Spirit already has a backlog of more than 50 companies interested in signing on to provide positions.

Says Andy Bird, CCO, Publicis New York: "There are few times when you can truly impact the industry status quo. We have that opportunity -- right here, right now -- with the launch of Creative Spirit, and we are really proud to bring the cause to life in North America."

"This is a global crisis, and likely the most profound human rights employment issue of our time, yet it goes unsolved," said Laurel Rossi, Co-Founder and CEO of Creative Spirit, and CMO of Rauxa. "We believe that if the private sector comes together -- with its collective voice -- and with the use of technology -- that we can solve this problem at scale. There are more than 8 million people in the US who are not employed in integrated settings, and more than a million young adults with autism who will be aging into the job market over the next several years." The idea was born in conjunction with The AD Club, a prestigious organization with a strong focus on diversity where Ms. Rossi is on the Board of Directors.

Visit CREATIVESPIRIT to learn more.

Screen Shot 2017-09-28 at 7.57.34 am.pngSays Gina Grillo, President and CEO of The AD Club, Creative Spirit co-founder and board member: "Creative Spirit was initially introduced at The International ANDY Awards by esteemed juror David Nobay who originated the idea in Australia in 2009. A little over two years ago, we agreed that Creative Spirit had the potential to truly change the face of employment. Today, we are proud to be supporting this transformative and forward-thinking diversity initiative. We are partnering to drive the recruitment of participating companies from the creative community, and donating media to build awareness -- more than $200K -- in support of the launch. We're passionate about Creative Spirit because it is the consummate demonstration of collaboration and supports our ongoing devotion to inclusion in business."

Corporate Partners and Launch Plans

Gina Alshuler, CEO of Rauxa, signed on as an inaugural partner when she hired Rossi from Havas. Rauxa developed the website and conducted the pilot program by hiring two candidates in their New York and Costa Mesa offices. "The program is extraordinary in its vision to integrate different kinds of thinking into an organization's DNA. It fits into our diversity agenda and our dedication to solving business problems with data and technology. We are proud to be a major supporter and encourage others to join in," says Alshuler.

The teaser video "The Pitch" was produced by Susanne Preissler, Executive Producer at Independent Media in LA and Chuck and Susan Willis at Cutting Room Films in New York. Ned Benson directed the spots. "The bonds between the cast and crew were so incredibly infectious that the Advertising Week launch will be a fantastic reunion. Ned Benson and I are flying from LA to catch up with the candidates we worked with and to participate in the recruitment of more companies," said Preissler. More than 30 individuals with IDDs will be working at Advertising Week as volunteers, alongside their peers in the hopes of networking with advertising and marketing executives. Creative Spirit has set up interviews on site with employers over the course of the week.

Creative Spirit also sponsored a panel discussion yesterday at BB Kings featuring the cast and crew of "The Pitch"; Sara Hart Weir, President of the National Down Syndrome Society; early supporters Stacy Green from A&E Networks; Vincent Cignarella from Bloomberg and Creative Spirit candidates Gianna Morello, Bret Fleming, Mia Filippone, Alexa Nacamulli, Brendan Lemeuix, Harrison Vanderlee, Freddy Henriquez, and Laura Parrell. The panel, "How the Power of Different Will Change the World" is meant to be educational and provoke potential employers to consider and nurture neuro-diverse talent.

Like the Creative Spirit recruitment model, marketing efforts will employ the progressive AI technology and social media strategies to help it gain momentum. TheSocialArchitects will manage social media. Creative Spirit is already planning efforts around the world, beginning with a relaunch in Australia in 2018 led by Nobay who also authored the brand's tagline 'What's more creative than being different?'

"We need to exponentially grow the number of companies who commit to hiring those with IDDs. Gina Grillo, The Ad Club, David Nobay and I won't stop until we reverse the 85%:15% integrated employment ratio for these talented individuals who are limited only by opportunity," said Rossi.

Client: Creative Spirit US
Campaign Title: The Pitch
Agency:  Publicis New York & Marcel Sydney
Chief Creative Officer: Andy Bird, Publicis New York
Co-Founder, Creative Spirit; Creative Chairman: David Nobay, Marcel Sydney
Executive Creative Director: Adrian Flores
Senior Copywriter:  Brett Lagoon Simone
Copywriter:   Jaysn Kim
Art Director:   Casey Glidden
Chief Production Officer: Lisa Bifulco
Executive Producer: Anthony Garetti
Integrated Producer: Klodet Torosian
Production Company: Independent Media
Director: Ned Benson
DoP: Sam Levy
Producer: Susanne Preissler
Editorial Company:  Cutting Room
Editor: Chuck Willis
Producer:  Sebastian Greene

1 Comments

Nice one said:

I love this initiative. I think it's fantastic. Not a fan of the campaign, but I will gladly overlook that in light of the bigger picture. Good luck guys. Hope it goes really well.

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