McKinney reaches out to Japan - McKinney

McKinney reaches out to Japan

July 11, 2011

STILLforJAPAN, a global initiative to let the people of Japan know that the world has not forgotten their distress and suffering, will launch July 11, the four-month anniversary of the earthquake and tsunami disaster. People in the U.S and around the world will be asked to observe a “moment of stillness” on a website ( dedicated solely for that purpose. A multi-media, public relations and social media campaign will drive traffic to the website created by McKinney.

On July 11, a Clear Channel Spectacolor Times Square digital billboard will launch the campaign with messages and visuals once every hour to reflect on those affected by the natural disasters and direct pedestrians to the website. Also, Clear Channel Radio’s New York division will donate production time and station air time for a 30-second spot that will focus on the anniversary and highlight the moment of stillness.

The first goal of the campaign is to reach 180,000 minutes, one minute of stillness for every death, injured, missing, orphaned, homeless and radiation victim directly impacted in Japan. The second goal is to reach 1,031,704 minutes, the number of people in Sendai Prefecture, which has suffered greatly.

“This campaign asks for a moment of someone’s time, not money” said Kaede Seville, a New York-based reporter for many Japanese publications who is spearheading this initiative. “We want people to go to the website for a moment of stillness to demonstrate that we still remember that Japan is suffering greatly from this disaster.”

The STILLforJAPAN website, created by advertising agency McKinney, and VCU Brandcenter graduate students, starts in a beautiful opaque color resembling a Japanese water color painting, and asks visitors to honor those affected by the disaster by donating a minute of stillness. When a visitor clicks “begin,” a large red sun slowly rises while showing both dreadful statistics of the tragedy as well as proverbs, poems and sayings from Japan and other countries that encourage the Japanese people in distress.

Messages such as, “While there is still life, there is still hope,” and “Perseverance is strength,” appear in both English and Japanese.

When the minute of stillness is completed, the website will encourage people to show their support through Facebook, Twitter and other social media outlets asking their friends to participate.

Visitors to the site will also see a map indicating where and how many minutes have been donated by people around the world, a commercial that is running on Japanese television, and a place to send one’s own message of hope and encouragement to Japan.

The website campaign will continue until the goal of one million minutes is reached.

“After a tragedy, sometimes the most comforting thing to know is you’re not alone,” said Paul Davis, a leader of the student group at VCU and an intern at McKinney. “Through this project, we want to send a message of hope to Japan.”

“When our communities are in need – whether around the corner or around the globe – Clear Channel is privileged to step up and lend a hand,” said Alan High, President and General Manager, Clear Channel Spectacolor. “The people of Japan are still in need, and we are using the power and impact of our Times Square SpectacolorHD board, in addition to the Company’s New York radio stations, to make our modest contribution in building awareness for this important and innovative campaign.”

“Disasters often make the news for a few days and then we forget,” said Rick Boyko, Director of the VCU Brandcenter. “We want Japan to know that in this global universe, one country suffering such an enormous devastation is still remembered. Our students loved working on this project and have, I believe, created a beautiful campaign. We also thank Clear Channel for donating valuable billboard time in Times Square and air time on their radio platform.”

STILLforJAPAN is a collaboration of services donated by the VCU Brandcenter, New York public relations firm DiGennaro Communications, McKinney, Clear Channel Spectacolor, Clear Channel Radio – New York, and Matt Miller, CEO of the AICP. A TV commercial for showing in Japan was produced by Mirada/Motion Theory of Los Angeles with original music by Michael Montes of Sacred Noise in New York.

Background History of the effort:

On March 11, northern Japan was struck by a massive earthquake and tsunami that resulted in nuclear meltdown at the Fukushima nuclear power plant. Since then, many Japanese have conveyed to Kaede Seville, Japanese national and freelance journalist covering the U.S. advertising and marketing industries from New York City, feelings of isolation and hopelessness as a result of the unimaginable destruction they faced.

While many generous people around the world donated money to Japan, many foreigners living in Japan fled the country fearing nuclear meltdown, leaving the Japanese feeling even more alone. They desperately needed encouragement from outside Japan. Hearing this, Kaede reached out to her friend Rick Boyko, director of VCU Brandcenter, and asked if he would help create some encouraging messages. Twenty-seven students eagerly joined the project with zest and compassion, and presented their ideas in wake of the disaster. The STILLforJAPAN concept was born.

Since then, Kaede asked her Japanese friends to help on their home turf and has also coordinated the campaign with help from all those listed to whom she is most grateful. While initiated in America, this effort has become a true collaboration between the U.S. and Japan.


Kathleen Sampey DiGennaro Communications

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Tracey Boudine DiGennaro Communications

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