GLOBAL BRIEF: Politics outweigh goodwill as Unicef builds image The agency that wins the dollars 200m account will have a hard task. By Karen Yates.

Unicef has an ambitious plan to use advertising to change world attitudes to children - and it sounds tantalising. First, of course, the money. Officials of the UN-funded organisation for children are talking budgets as high as dollars 200 million, a comfortable prize even if spread over several years. Then there’s the worthy factor: the chance for late nights and gruelling journeys not just for money - but to fight for a better deal for children everywhere.

Unicef has an ambitious plan to use advertising to change world

attitudes to children - and it sounds tantalising. First, of course, the

money. Officials of the UN-funded organisation for children are talking

budgets as high as dollars 200 million, a comfortable prize even if

spread over several years. Then there’s the worthy factor: the chance

for late nights and gruelling journeys not just for money - but to fight

for a better deal for children everywhere.



But to the critical eye there’s more than a couple of question marks

hanging over the scheme the New York-based Unicef officials were touting

around London last week. Unicef has seen the sea-change in attitudes

towards environmental problems in recent years.



Global warming and its associated problems was once the province of

tree-huggers and boffins, but is now an everyday topic of

conversation.



Unicef wants to do the same for children’s issues. It wants to galvanise

not only its traditional audience of government leaders, but also other

key sectors of society, from local charities to the boardroom. And it

wants to do this all around the world.



Naturally they’d be talking big multi-million-pound budgets for this:

they’d have to. But when push comes to shove, will those budgets really

be there? Funding would appear to rely on Unicef’s ability to unite all

interested charities, companies, governments and universities, and then

persuade them to switch their financial might from their own schemes

towards Unicef and its grand plan. A hard enough task for a squeaky

clean charity that has never put a foot wrong. But for a

non-governmental organisation with its own funding problems and a

history of political squabbles?



According to Corinne Woods, head of communications on the initiative,

Unicef aims to focus attention on children’s issues in the run-up to a

UN Special Assembly on the subject scheduled for the year 2001. The

assembly will review progress on the promises made at the last

children’s summit in 1990, and, she hopes, also do much more. ’We want

to effect a transformation in the way people see children,’ she says.

’It’s a very bold and ambitious idea.’



Phase one, to be completed by the spring, is to ’distill the essence’ of

children’s issues around the world into one key umbrella theme or

concept.



This will be the platform on which phase two - getting all interested

bodies fully behind the initiative and devising a communications

strategy - will be based.



Quite how much of this will be advertising is far from clear. It is also

not entirely clear why the agency search is being conducted in the UK

rather than near Unicef’s headquarters in New York. Is Unicef merely

flexing its international credentials or are there other, more

complicated reasons for decamping from its own doorstep?



Unicef is looking for a truly international agency, according to Woods,

one with true breadth of vision. Cynics might add that it needs to be

fired by optimism too.



Become a member of Campaign from just £46 a quarter

Get the very latest news and insight from Campaign with unrestricted access to campaignlive.co.uk ,plus get exclusive discounts to Campaign events

Become a member

Looking for a new job?

Get the latest creative jobs in advertising, media, marketing and digital delivered directly to your inbox each day.

Create an Alert Now

Partner content

Share

1 Job description: Digital marketing executive

Digital marketing executives oversee the online marketing strategy for their organisation. They plan and execute digital (including email) marketing campaigns and design, maintain and supply content for the organisation's website(s).