Mpls Firm: Redirect 5% of Ad Spend for Global Good

Media and marketing firm Haberman launched an initiative that implores businesses to put some of their ad dollars to better use-and provides a forum for people to identify ads that benefit society and ads that they would have rather deleted.

A social initiative that launched Monday seeks to explore whether there's a better use for the $500 billion projected to be spent globally on advertising in 2011.

Called “Add or Delete,” the initiative provides a forum for people to identify ads that add value to society and-on the flip side-those that consumers would rather delete.

Minneapolis-based media and marketing firm Haberman launched the initiative-which implores businesses to redirect or leverage at least 5 percent of their global ad spend or marketing assets to solve social issues.

“Our industry needs to redirect some of its creative firepower towards creating positive change instead of generating more distasteful or wasteful ads,” Fred Haberman, CEO and co-founder of Haberman, said in a statement. “Allocating 5 percent of marketing budgets towards projects that create global benefit and showcase brands' values creates a win-win proposition for marketers and our society alike.”

Advertisers are expected to collectively spend $270 million on TV ads during Super Bowl XLV, which will take place on February 6. Haberman points out that reallocating 5 percent of those dollars would free up $13.5 million to support positive social change.

With Super Bowl ads costing $100,000 per second, Haberman encourages those watching the game to consider the ads with a critical eye and think about whether each commercial adds value.

The firm created a Facebook page to take that idea a step further: Anyone can upload ads or other elements of marketing campaigns that they believe either add value or take away funds that could be put to better use. Those who “like” the page will be able to learn about campaigns that add to society, provide feedback about ads posted by others, and share ads that they would have rather “deleted” than watched. According to Haberman, the forum could also link socially minded companies and consumers who prefer to support them.

According to Advertising Age, 72 percent of consumers find ads to be “annoying or extremely annoying”-part of the equation that prompted Haberman to ask whether ad dollars could be better spent for the greater good.

“We've believed in the power of authentic, relevant, pioneering campaigns that add value to our world since our inception as an agency,” Haberman said in a statement. “Add or Delete inspires marketing professionals to consider their legacies; do you want to be known for gaining approvals for lavish ad shoots or for creating campaigns that positively impact our world?”

Haberman is among Minnesota's 10-largest public relations firms based on net fee income, which totaled $3.4 million in its most recently completed fiscal year. The firm's clients include Volvo Cars of North America, the Minnesota Department of Health, Organic Valley, the Community Reinvestment Fund, Annie's Homegrown, the Institute for Agriculture and Trade Policy, The Bush Foundation, and The Minneapolis Foundation.