As part of its mission to support and promote all forms of inclusion and diversity in advertising and design, The One Club for Creativity partnered with nine leading agencies and production companies to host “PSAs Gone Wild”, the first neurodiversity creative workshop for talented artists with developmental disabilities.
Creative teams from BBDO New York, Edelman, McCann Health and R/GA New York were paired with four artists represented by LAND Studio & Gallery in Brooklyn, a unique nonprofit day habilitation program run by curator Matthew Murphy for artists with developmental disabilities that teaches life skills through the modality of art.
For three hours on each of the first three days of the workshop, artists and creatives worked to develop PSA announcements on any topic of interest to the artists. The teams discussed concepts, and artists created elaborate storyboards to convey each message.
On the fourth day, each team presented their PSA to a panel of production company representatives from Chelsea Pictures, Final Cut, Ghost Robot, Psyop and Stockade Works, who will now consider production of one or more of the ideas.
The PSAs, illustrated in each artist’s unique style, spanned a range of topics.
Artist Carlo Daleo, working with R/GA New York CD Joanna Crean and senior copywriter Rowan Mansfield, addressed alcoholism in law enforcement with “Martinis and Mistakes: Alerting Police to the Dangers of Drinking on the Job”.
Artist Myasia Dowdell, partnered with Edelman senior copywriter Alexandra Weinberg and art director Kyle Swoyer, looked at ways to deal with childhood depression by creating a character called Verne the Sheep with “Verne’s Advice”.
McCann Health’s John Egan, VP, ACD, and Rocky Pina, VP, ACD, art director, worked with artist Michael Pellew, who addressed female empowerment with “Can ‘The Bumpit’ Save the World?”. His PSA featured a unique hair style which has the power to create positive change and make people feel good.
BBDO New York’s Ellen O’Donnell, art director, and James Henderson, copywriter, were paired with artist Robert Latchman, whose “The Brooklyn Bridge: The Real America Pie” used various perspectives of the iconic bridge as a platform for connecting people from all walks of life.
“PSAs Gone Wild” grew out of a discussion between Kevin Swanepoel, The One Club CEO, and Edelman ECD Jesse Suchmann, who was familiar with both LAND Gallery and club’s focus on inclusion and diversity.
“After just one conversation with Jesse, we leapt at the opportunity to host this first-of-a-kind event,” said Swanepoel. “His passion for the concept was a perfect fit with part of our mission to promote inclusion and diversity, as well as with our extensive experience in hosting creative workshops around the world.”
Swanepoel added the neurodiversity workshop is the newest example of how The One Club is much more than just the home of The One Show and ADC Annual Awards. “As the industry’s foremost global nonprofit, The One Club exists to give back to the creative community,” he said. “Revenue generated from the awards shows is put back into the industry in the form of inclusion and diversity, professional development, education and gender equality programming all year round in cities around the world.”
“The power of neurodiverse creative teams is undeniable,” said Edelman’s Suchmann. “These PSAs are some of the freshest and most memorable ad concepts I’ve ever seen, and they came together in less than 10 hours. It was mind blowing how quickly any awkwardness and focus on disability melted away after about 15 minutes of creative collaboration.”
He believes there’s huge potential for creative collaboration to break down barriers for the disability community. “I hope the participating agencies can find a way to bring neurodiversity into their day-to-day creative process, even if only as a pilot,” Suchmann said. “I know Edelman will.”
The “PSAs Gone Wild” workshop was run by a team headed by Bridgid Moore, who serves as manager of The One Club’s prestigious ADC Annual Awards.
Participating agency creatives were enthusiastic in their praise of the LAND Gallery artists and overall workshop experience.
Ellen O’Donnell, art director, and James Henderson, copywriter, BBDO New York:
“Anybody looking to get involved in ‘PSAs Gone Wild’ should definitely participate. We had so much fun, and working with the LAND Gallery artists was truly a breath of fresh air when it came to fully allowing creativity and imagination to take the lead.”
Alexandra Weinberg, senior copywriter, and Kyle Swoyer, art director, Edelman:
“Creativity is all about fresh perspectives, and the artists at the LAND Gallery are as fresh as it gets. Working with Myasia Dowdell was an inspiring and humbling experience that yielded incredible results. Working together, we were able to create something that was beyond anything we could’ve imagined on our own. We’d highly encourage all creatives to seek out these unexpected collaborations whenever possible.”
John Egan, VP, ACD, McCann Health New York:
“My colleague Rocky Pina and I were honored to be invited to the ‘PSAs Gone Wild’ workshop. Having no preconceived ideas about what to expect, we were absolutely blown away by the creativity, passion and compassion of the artists, as well as The One Club staff. The workshop itself was nothing short of transformative. We probably learned as much, if not more, from the artists we were paired with, and are looking at our own creative process in a new light!”
Joanna Crean, creative director, R/GA New York:
“It’s been an honor to collaborate with LAND artist Carlo Daleo—cartoonist, painter, writer, VO artist extraordinaire. ‘PSAs Gone Wild’ allowed agency creatives to break out of their traditional way of thinking. By bringing different creative minds to the table, we’ve worked together to establish our own ‘process’ — one that proves, yet again, the more diverse the team, the better the creative output. I can confidently say that if our PSA is produced, multiple Fortune 500 companies should try to sign Carlo as their VO talent.”
“PSAs Gone Wild” derives its name from “Rock On Go Wild”, a nonprofit side project started by Edelman’s Suchmann and his brother with Down Syndrome. The group is a loosely organized network of neurodiverse creative minds from the advertising, filmmaking, music and fine art communities. “We assemble when the world needs us, create strange and beautiful things, then disappear into the night,” he said. “And by ‘night,’ we mean day jobs.”