The Clio was awarded as a result of Joe Public's direct mailer invitation to local and international bands to support Rock4AIDS, an annual benefit concert which raises funds for the fight against HIV/AIDS.
The direct mailer took the form of what appears to be a giant box of antiretrovirals. Every box contained a blister pack with a set of 28 unique plectrums, each bearing a single letter which together spell out the sentence 'Treat the cause. Not the symptoms'.
Included in every pack was a leaflet styled to appear as a medical insert, with 28 pieces of information about HIV/AIDS and Rock4AIDS, corresponding to the images and letters on the plectrums.
The direct mailer enticed the internationally renowned band Prime Circle, local artist Josie Field and stand-up comedian John Vlismas to perform at the 2009 Rock4AIDS concert held at the Alexander Theatre in Braamfontein.
"We're passionate about the people of South Africa and believe that our diversity and resilience makes us one of the most exceptional nations in the world," says Joe Public's Executive Creative Director Pepe Marais. "This passion motivated us to go beyond the workplace and find a school through which we could tackle the one issue that is making our people suffer most."
"Our goal took us on a six-month journey to find a school in need of help who was also willing to help themselves," he says. "It was when we discovered Forte High in Dobsonville, Soweto that we decided it would become our first adopted school." When rated by an independent body, Forte High was classified as one of 24 000 dysfunctional schools in South Africa. Joe Public immediately got to work forming relationships with the 42 teachers who possess the power to influence 1300 kids who could in turn influence thousands more.
Says Bronwyn James, Deputy Chairperson of Rock4AIDS: "We started with a series of transformational workshops that specialise in unlocking human potential and raising general awareness. With the funds raised by our 2006 and 2007 Rock4AIDS events, we were able to send 18 of the 42 Forte teachers to workshops during the course of 2008. Working side by side with the school, we helped the staff set measurable, individual goals for themselves. Challenges were identified, and each head of department was put in charge of a specific issue such as drugs, interaction with parents, open discussion, respect for property and, of course, HIV/AIDS."
Several other problems face the school. For instance, there are doors that don't lock, windows which are broken and many of the toilets are without seats or running water. With the help of CTM as a corporate sponsor renovations are almost complete on all ablution facilities in the building. Tracker is a separate sponsor who recently came on board to build brand new tennis and basketball courts for the school.
"CTM has also volunteered to award a full study bursary to the top student of this year and will be taking five more learners into their fold of retail stores next year, offering these kids the chance to escape the cycle of poverty and have the chance of a real future," says Bronwyn.
"The total value of donations to the school so far has been almost R1 000 000 and with the economy well on the road to recovery, we look forward to doing a lot more over the next few years."
"We are understandably proud of our Silver Clio," says Pepe, "but we are more proud of being able to make a meaningful difference in South Africa through schools like Forte High. Another confirmation of our efforts is that Joe Public has just been awarded the John Hopkins Health and Education 2009/2010 Community Involvement Award for our contribution to fighting HIV/AIDS through education. The road ahead is long, but we're certainly turning corners and making a difference one step at a time." About Joe Public
Joe Public is an independently owned, Johannesburg-based advertising and design agency with a deep-rooted love for South Africa. We are an agency for people, by people and it is this philosophy that inspires us to win the hearts and minds of the South African public in everything we do. For more information about Joe Public go to our website at www.joepublic.co.za