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
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
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.