NABS’ inside baseball campaign

The organization introduces a new outlet for creatives.


This article appears in the June 2016 issue of strategy.

The National Advertising Benevolent Society (NABS) is going after creatives who want more leeway to flex their creative muscles, launching a new fundraising initiative.

The organization partnered with Lg2 to create It Ran, a magazine solely made up of advertising that would never be able to run elsewhere for a brand. Agency folk can upload their print ads – no matter how wacky – to a microsite (for a fee) and have it run in the magazine, with proceeds going to NABS.

The idea came from the under-the-breath muttering that often occurs at award shows, with some questioning the winning work (“There’s no way this ran.”)

Lg2 wanted to play on that, given the past year has seen award show fatigue, with high-level global creatives questioning whether they’re useful, let alone legitimate, says Chris Hirsch, partner, VP and CD at Lg2.

To gain submissions, Lg2 has created an online video featuring some agency staff talking about the concept, incorporating creative elements that would never be used in a typical client ad, Hirsch explains. That includes completely miscast actors (including one wearing a dog cone) and ending the spot with death metal.

“It’s meant to poke a little bit of fun at ourselves, because if we can’t do that, I think we’re all taking ourselves a little too seriously,” Hirsch says.

NABS and Lg2 will push the video out on social in early June, with the It Ran magazine to be distributed to agencies in the fall.

It was particularly important for NABS to target agencies, who are proportionally the highest users of its services, says Louise Berube, director of allocations and services at NABS Canada.

The tongue-in-cheek nature of the campaign was appealing to NABS, which hopes the initiative will also reach creatives in a way that shows it truly understands them, she says. “It’s kind of a Trojan horse to speak to the community.”