Sunday, November 6, 2011

Sarah Scinto: "A Good Cause Spins Itself"

The Arts YOUniverse Stage
Advertising and PR get a bad rap in the world of communications, but these general ideas about lying, deceptive advertisers do not hold up in reality. In reality, advertising campaigns are shaped and defined by what they promote, and when a campaign promotes something good, it can never fall prey to the Mad Men-esque stereotypes. Case in point: our work with Arts YOUniverse.

Bunnicula and Arts YOUniverse are good causes in every sense of the word. They are providing a valuable service to the Wilkes-Barre community by providing access to the arts.  Coming into the Writing for the Arts class, we were asked to aid Arts YOUniverse in the promotion and sponsorship of the production, and as we began our work, it seemed as though the cause promoted itself. We knew that our writing would support something good, something that was giving back to the community, and we did not need to spin our approach or write in any sort of deceptive way.

In those first few brainstorming meetings, the ideas flew across the table at a rapid-fire pace. We were so inspired by the work of Arts YOUniverse and the Bunnicula project that we did not struggle to come up with ways to promote it. We were charged by the belief that the public should know about this cause, and inspiration flowed from this belief. We existed to serve the goals of Arts YOUniverse and the production, not to twist them around into a more pleasing form for the press. The work was pleasing enough already, we just put the message out into the world and let the word spread.

I never imagined myself as a promoter or advertiser. I always thought I could only be the creator; the one who makes the product or event to be promoted. I’ll admit it: I bought into the stereotypes. Now, however, I realize that I don’t have to limit myself to one category. Promotion does not stifle creativity, it encourages creativity. Promoters help the creators find their place in the world and enable them to continue creating. Of course, promoters themselves have creators in them: I can honestly say that some of the most creative things I’ve done were connected to promotional campaigns for both Bunnicula and the charity Invisible Children.

When a promotional campaign serves something creative and good, it too takes on those qualities. The best promotions exist to serve what should be brought into the public eye. After taking this class, working with Arts YOUniverse, and continuing to work with Invisible Children, I have seen that so many great things deserve promotion. Their messages should be heard and seen by the world, and it is promotion and advertising that allows their messages to spread. I always thought I would be the creator, but now I can see myself as a promoter as well. If I can be responsible, even in the smallest way, for shedding light on a good cause or allowing someone’s voice to be heard, I know I will have achieved something worthwhile.

Advertising and PR are not about stifling creativity or spinning and distorting messages. They are about allowing creativity the space to thrive and helping a good cause get its message to the world. I think we achieved this purpose in our work with Arts YOUniverse. We took the message they gave us and spread it to the community, giving Bunnicula a chance to take the stage and Arts YOUniverse itself the ability to continue creating. I am so honored to have been a part of this effort, and I am so proud of what we accomplished. More than anything, I am so grateful for this experience.

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