EDITORIAL: Strong communication is key to updating NABS

The fact that destitute advertising folk are perceived as being as plentiful as snowflakes in July to those outside Soho’s confines means that NABS, the industry charity, will always face an uphill struggle.

The fact that destitute advertising folk are perceived as being as

plentiful as snowflakes in July to those outside Soho’s confines means

that NABS, the industry charity, will always face an uphill

struggle.



Doubtless its executives and committee members are tired of hearing

jokes such as the one about the adman who swings open the door of his

new Porsche only to have it torn off by a passing truck.



A policeman, summoned to the scene, finds the adman raving that someone

with a string of great campaigns to his name should have to drive around

in a piece of junk.



Shaking his head at such materialism, the officer asks the man if he has

noticed that his left arm is missing.



’Ahhhhhhh!’ screams the adman. ’My Rolex!’



Funny? Certainly. Yet the story goes to the heart of NABS’ problem. How

does it demonstrate its relevance to an industry that appears to need it

least.



Even within the industry itself there are many who dismiss NABS as not a

’proper’ charity or, because of their youth, don’t believe they will

make use of it for many years - if ever.



NABS is clearly aware of the credibility gap it must leap, having

drafted in 39-year-old Kate Harris from Grey to ’shake some of the dust

off’ as its new head and hiring HPT Brand Response to build awareness of

its services and broaden its membership base.



Certainly, there’s still lots to be done to convince those whose

knowledge of NABS is confined to the annual boxing night.



Behind that flashy shop window, however, a helpline flourishes and an

outreach programme helps jobless industry people adapt to a changing

game. Young creatives sucked into the drugs culture are put in touch

with counsellors and a senior agency staffer struck down by a stroke in

her early 40s is helped to rebuild her life.



And it’s a far cry from the odious Porsche driver to the former

executive of a regional agency facing such desperate hardship that NABS

provided the money to buy shoes for his children.



NABS has humanity and energy but its brand values need to be

communicated more powerfully. Sounds like a job for advertising.