The One Club for Creativity recently 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."
Photo: Courtesy of The One Club for Creativity