Two Ad Guys Want to Save the World With Stock PSAs, but at Least They Know They’re Crazy

A charitable sabbatical

Are you unhinged enough to quit your advertising job for six months so you can create a campaign that you believe could solve all of humanity's problems?

A couple of creatives are framing themselves as just that with a new project titled "Crazy Enough to Change the World." Dusan Adamovic and Marko Romcevic, creative partners at the Belgrade office of No Ordinary Agency, are taking a six-month break to build a free online library of videos they say will be adaptable to various social causes and brands.

An intro clip promises to let users modify the videos to raise awareness of issues like homelessness and hunger, as well as translate the messages into different languages, and add logos and trademarks. The website is short on examples at present—the only downloadable materials are designs for T-shirts, smartphone cases and coffee mugs that feature the project's own branding. But the creators say the first customizable pieces will be online by the end of September.

In its early stages, the project risks coming across as at least as much self-promotional as well intentioned. But its creators are also seeking help from the creative community—not in the form of money but in collaboration and donated services: actors, models, production equipment and music, to name a few.

AdFreak asked Romcevic to elaborate on the undertaking and its goals. Check out our Q&A below, lightly edited for clarity.

What do you hope to accomplish in your six-month window?

In terms of number of creative pieces, the plan is to have at least 20 (in order to fill in the library and cover numerous public causes). This will include TVCs, online videos, music videos, social media stunts and concepts.

In terms of involvement of others, we aim (and are working toward) getting both global and local organizations from fields we will cover with our videos. We do not discriminate based on size or location. [If it's] the [United Nations] or a local environmental group from Oslo, Norway, they are all welcome. Although the bigger ones might have a wider influence (clearly), the end outcome of this campaign should be a "change" and an improvement, regardless if it comes as a result of cooperating with a big partner or with a series of smaller ones throughout the world.

Facebook, Google, Amnesty International and Greenpeace are featured in the intro video. Are they official partners or just examples of the types of organizations you hope to attract to participate?

Examples only. Once they get on board, the official partners will be stated at our website.

Have other companies or charities signed on yet?

At this point we are in talks with several humanitarian organizations who have shared their interest in joining in. However, this is not intended just for companies and/or charities. Anyone will be able to use the pieces (including individuals—that is why we have the "Name and surname" in the intro video).

Also, a part of the creative work will be in the format of music videos—which will be available to bands and musicians to customize and use as their own (thus supporting the fight against domestic violence, pedophilia, breast cancer … ). [No Ordinary Agency] is involved in a lot of work which is connected to the music world, and we are already in talks with MTV (Europe), who wish to join the project, as well as several bands/DJs who have expressed interest in using the videos.

How do you see it connecting back to solutions for specific issues in the long run?

What we're aiming at is involving as widespread [a] community as possible—charity organizations, profitable companies with strong CSR backgrounds, humanitarian activists and socially responsible influencers—who can use our videos to raise the awareness about these public causes. If more people are talking about it, we will be one step closer to the solution, and institutions and individuals who are trying to cope with these issues will have increased chances in finding the proper solutions (whether this results in empowering their fundraising efforts or something else). What we can offer is creative pieces, which will spread the word and point out the necessity of solving these issues, and this should serve as a support in their (and everyone's) attempt to solve them in the long (or hopefully shorter) run.

What were your roles at No Ordinary Agency?

We were in charge for the agency's "Creative Cloud," which serves as a hub for all NOA offices (Vienna, Zürich, Belgrade and New York), so we were running between the offices (depending on where the project was based). We are shareholders in the Belgrade office and have spent most of our time in Belgrade, since the vast majority of creative work was developed there.

Will you return to your positions as creative partners once the six months are up?

Yup. We are still madly in love with advertising. This was just an itch we simply had to scratch.

How do you see the project continuing after that point?

There are several ideas on how to keep this alive after that—from continuing to refresh the library by ourselves, all the way to involving other agencies and creatives (making it even more open). However, at this stage we are fully focused on producing the best pieces, and once we see what we have accomplished, we will decide on a model [that] will fit. Anyway, we plan to make this type of initiative an integral part of [NOA's] DNA in the future.

Any concerns that the project is too broad or ambitious in its scope?

Ambitious, it is. But we have to be if we wish to change things. We are aware that it might not be an easy task, but [as we like to say]—when has that ever stopped crazy people from trying?

@GabrielBeltrone Gabriel Beltrone is a frequent contributor to Adweek.
Publish date: September 8, 2015 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT