MediaVest Commits $54 Million in Free 'Paid' Media to Charity Partner

MediaVest Commits $54 Million in Free 'Paid' Media to Charity Partner

David Hessekiel joked that he fears for the safety of a media executive who presented at the Cause Marketing Forum after it was revealed that $54 million in free ad buys had been committed to a single charity partner.

Richard Hartell, president of strategy for MediaVest USA, had just shared details of a partnership the Publicis-owned media buying giant had struck with Share Our Strength to combat childhood hunger.

The size of the ad buy, which will reach $100 million in five years, was staggeringly large in contrast to many of the nonprofit-corporate cause partnerships that get their start at the 13-year-old Chicago conference.

But MediaVest has massive clout because it buys billions of dollars in online, print and broadcast placement each month for the largest brands.  Asking a media company to donate inventory to support the charitable cause of MediaVest was an easy sell, says Hartell.

"They really want to showcase themselves," he said, adding that media partners like Google, BET, Buzzfeed and Spotify are also contributing creative advice to demonstrate how to maximize the unique engagement attributes of their platforms.

The campaign benefitting from all this free traditional advertising and content marketing is "Great Nations Eat" and will have a patriotic theme that points out a country that landed men on the moon cannot properly feed its children, said Clay Dunn, acting communications chief and brand officer for Share Our Strength. Actor Jeff Bridges is the celebrity spokesman.

Dunn acknowledged that all the hard work creating a high-performance web portal for the campaign pales in comparison to the awareness that will be created through the media buy.  

Traffic to Buzzfeed alone during the short period Dunn and Hartnell were on stage exceeded what the Share Our Strength site gets in a year, he said. 

Hessekiel, who acts as emcee for the Cause Marketing Forum, urged the 500 marketers in attendance to exercise restraint in pursuing Hartell for a partnership similar to the one Share Our Strength has wrangled.  

I'm sure the other media executives in attendance -- from iHeartMedia, Mashable, USA Network and Time Inc. -- discretely hid their name badges following the session. 

(Photo: David Hessekiel at Cause Marketing Forum)