A nun walks into an ad agency
…that was right after she marched into City Hall and then the Philadelphia Streets department, looking for the people responsible for the UnLitter Us campaign. Ok, I dramatize. Sister Anne hardly marches about, but rather strides with quiet purpose. And when I met with her, she was on a mission.
The diminutive Sister Anne teaches an art class at the John Kennedy Mental Health Center on Broad Street. Every Monday, she takes the subway from her convent in West Philadelphia to her subway stop at City Hall, where she is greeted by the dramatic faces of our campaign. With close to 100 posters lining the tracks and walkways underground, they were hard to miss this summer. Sister Anne’s voice is delicate as she describes standing on the platform surrounded by the expressive words and faces of our poets, marveling that we chose to fight filth with beauty. Sister Anne not only felt the soul of UnLitter Us, she was intellectually curious about the strategy we chose. She thought that by understanding the thinking behind the campaign, she could better help her students. Ultimately, the Center helps to rebuild lives based on the foundations of respect and dignity. Sister Anne helps her students purge their negativity and find what is beautiful inside of them to express through art.
So she delved…the focus groups, the findings, the creative strategy, the process, the elements of execution. Her questions were intelligent, her comments insightful. No detail was too boring for Sister Anne, so I lavishly divulged the intricacies of the ad campaign that became somewhat of a spiritual journey for the team who nurtured and brought it to fruition.
We always hope our creative strategy will hit the mark and move our intended target – in this case, urban youth 18 – 25. And yes, we have metrics and that show progress city-wide. Inspiring Sister Anne, however, and providing even the most modest assistance in her mission is an added bonus of a much higher order.