Unicef, the United Nations Children’s Fund, is in talks with major
advertising networks about a dollars 1 billion initiative to put
children’s issues at the top of the international agenda.
Unicef officials have put forward provisional budgets of dollars 200
million for advertising on the project, which aims to change the
attitudes among industry and government leaders and other
opinion-formers. The organisation hopes to galvanise support from
academic organisations, charities and industry for the project, which is
known internally as the Global Movement for Children.
It will culminate in a world conference on children’s issues involving
the former president of South Africa, Nelson Mandela, in 2001.
The project’s New York-based head of communications, Corinne Woods, was
in London this week visiting a shortlist of seven agencies drawn up by
the Advertising Agency Register - M&C Saatchi, Saatchi & Saatchi, Leo
Burnett, D’Arcy, Euro RSCG Wnek Gosper, TBWA GGT Simons Palmer and BMP
The three or four finalists chosen from this list will have to be
approved by Unicef’s ethics committee before proceeding with the
’Unicef has to be seen to be whiter than white,’ one source close to the
talks confided, adding that agencies would be vetted for their
involvement in advertising of cigarettes, alcohol, baby formulas and
’It’s a very bold and ambitious idea,’ Woods said. ’Our job is to touch
the imagination of the world.’
She added that it was too soon to say how much would be spent on
advertising-related services: ’We don’t know what the budget will be. In
total we have dollars 1 billion. Yes, we want to invest in the best
communications people in the business to get it right, but we’ve got to
balance that against other things we want to spend our money on.’
Woods did not comment on whether the organisation would rely on media
companies to donate airtime or advertising space. It is also unclear why
Unicef, which is headquartered in New York, has approached UK rather
than US agencies.
The initial challenge facing the successful agency will be to identify
the existing problems facing children and the organisations that can
Woods said there were ’101’ problems facing children today, and that
these had changed significantly since the last UN Special Assembly on
children in 1990.
Woods hopes to have an umbrella concept in place by next spring
reflecting the broad nature of the alliance that Unicef has gathered
together to fight for children’s issues. It has not yet been decided
whether this will include the Unicef name.
Bates UK’s position as Unicef’s agency of record is unaffected by the