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My TIE Experience 2015

By Mike Alhadeff
Grey London

In three words…
Doing TIE was an
extraordinary experience. It
had a bit of everything. The
odd mishap, the heat of
Brazil (of course) and finally
a sense of achievement

A bit of background
I’m Mike Alhadeff. Born and bred in Hackney.
Planner at Grey London.
I decided to take up the TIE challenge because I
wanted to try something different, explore new
places and meet new people.
I was also interested to find out what impact
communications might have outside of normal
agency life.

In my spare time, I’m a passionate sports fan with
a devotion to Manchester United.

A change of scene
Recife. North-East Brazil. State capital of

Recife has a population of 1.5 million and is the
fifth largest city in Brazil. It is the mix of the old
and new with Recife Antigo alongside the tall
modern sky scrappers of Boa Viagem.
In 2014, it hosted 5 matches during the FIFA
World Cup.
It also has the longest stretch of urbanised beach
front in Brazil.
All this 4600 miles away from London.

Back in the UK
The International Exchange isn’t just about packing
your bags and whizzing off to a foreign land.
Before you leave they arrange for training so you can
be best prepared for your project.

Janice McNamara provided development training to
help me think about the challenges I faced in Brazil.
Fernando Britto provided a crash course in
Portuguese to get to grips with some of the basics
(essentially how to order a beer!)
Heidi Kikoler provided leadership coaching to help
me think about the skills I needed to succeed in Brazil.

Jumping for money
Before my project could get off the ground…I
had to jump out a plane.
As with any TIE Project, I was required to raise a
budget. Without a budget, there would be
nothing for production costs or media spend.
To do this, I launched Mike’s Nuts Week – a week
of mad fundraising activity. It included a
sponsored sky dive as well as selling packs of ‘my
nuts’ in the office.
I used the fundraising platform to collect donations. It
made it easy, safe and I could track how much I
was raising.

In total I raised…
…a whopping

Grey skies
With all the training complete and the money
raised, I was finally ready to get the plane to Brazil.
Of course, this meant leaving a cold and wet London
in February and replacing it with Brazilian sunshine.

But it also meant living on a different continent,
experiencing a new culture and being surrounded by a
language I barely understood.
It certainly was hot and bothersome at times but trips
to the beach at weekends certainly helped.

What does a TIE project feel like?
Overall, it felt like the Olympic Downhill…
From day one, it felt like I was in the start gate for
the Olympic Downhill. All the build-up, all the
anticipation before arriving in Brazil.

But 4 weeks was an incredibly short amount of
time. There was no stopping the momentum once
you were out the gate. You had to take every turn,
twist and bump as it came.
The experience was exhilarating!

A typical day…
My time in Brazil was spent in a variety of ways. Some of it was similar to my life in the UK – from getting
public transport to work presentations – but other parts were different like my time with the kids at LAR

My Team

Lar Rejane Marques
Lar Rejane Marques (LAR) is a small local
charity based in Campo Grande, Recife.
They are a foster home which provides shelter,
care and support to children with physical and
mental disabilities as well their siblings.

The children at Lar Rejane Marques

They are supported by LAR as they have suffered
domestic violence and abuse and have been
referred to LAR by the Child Protect Council or a
I selected to work with LAR because I wanted to
help them with the particular challenges they

INATA is an experimental advertising agency
based at AESO University in Recife.
It is made up of advertising and marketing
students who have the opportunity to work on
live client briefs alongside professors with a
wealth of industry experience.


It was my agency team for the duration of my
project and would help me solve some of LAR’s

First day nerves
Arriving in a city half way round the world can
be a bit of a culture short.
But before I started my work with LAR and
INATA, I had an induction day organised by TIE
facilitator Juliana Menucci.
It was my chance to introduce myself to
everybody I would be working with during my

First day nerves…meeting the team

It was also an opportunity to start to understand
the challenges involved in the project and how I
might overcome them.

The Brief
The first thing I did was to receive the
client brief from LAR’s coordinator, Delza
It was a briefing with a difference as
neither of us could speak each others
respective languages. But luckily a couple
of guys from INATA translated for me (I
would rely them for the duration of the
Delza was responsible for the day-to-day
management of LAR, and along with a
board of directors, they made all the
decisions concerning LAR. They all had a
influence on our response to the brief.

The Client
Client name: Delza Riberio
Charity: Lar Rejane Marques
Agency: INATA
‘We get donations in food, clothing
etc…but we really struggle with a financial
‘We struggle to pay staff on time’
‘In the past we have been close to closing
our doors’

The Research
After I had received the brief, the next
stage was to undertake some research.
This was to further understand some of the
problems LAR faced – it involved both desk
research and qualitative research.

The World Giving Index 2014

The World Giving Index highlighted the
difficulties in asking for financial donations
in Brazil.
Meanwhile, we used an online Google
survey to ask people about disability in the

Responses from online Google survey

We also hosted a focus group at AESO
University with students.
Focus group at AESO

Important numbers…



Brazil ranked 90th on the World Giving
Index in 2014
45% of people surveyed didn’t like to
talk about disability

Identified objectives


AWARENESS: Build awareness of LAR
and what the organisation does


ATTITUDES: highlight the challenges
faced by disabled people and challenge
current attitudes


BUSINESSES: Help LAR recruit more
donors and build a sustainable donor base

Splitting the brief
In order to meet the objectives we identified, we decided to split the brief in two so different parts of the
campaign would target the relevant objective

The Public


We needed to target the local population in Recife, raising awareness
of LAR and the issue of disability. By increasing the profile of disability
and what LAR did as an organisation, we hoped to increase the
conversation around disability and make people feel more
comfortable about it.
We needed to target local businesses in Recife in order to increase the
potential pool of donors available to LAR. Targeting businesses
increased our chances of getting the financial donations needed.

The Strategy
The focus was on supporting LAR, but we felt it was
equally important to maintain an outward
We needed to address some of the challenges
disabled people experienced in Brazilian society as a
way of helping LAR itself.
By doing both, we recognised it would be mutually
beneficial. If there were better attitudes towards
disability, more people might support LAR. And it was
important for LAR to play a wider role in society to
encourage better inclusion of people with disabilities.



A change of approach
We wanted to reframe the position of LAR in order to encourage support and reflect it’s role in society



The Insight
By splitting the brief in two, we had to address two
different audiences.
But we needed to find an insight that could work for
During my time in Brazil, I noticed the importance of
family in Brazilian culture. It also reflected the culture
I found at LAR.

We used it to drive both briefs – society needed to act
as a ‘family’ to make it stronger and more supportive
while corporates were in a position to provide support
when needed.

The Public

Brazil is
one big


The Idea
We developed an idea which shaped what we
wanted to communicate.

To bring the idea of ‘family’ to life, we were inspired
by the world of the bee. Bees live in a society where
each bee has a role and they all help support each
other in the colony. This idea of supporting each
other, whether speaking to the public or corperates,
was key to the future success of LAR.
We were also inspired by the hexagonal shape which
makes up each bee hive. The way they interconnect
makes a larger, super strong structure. Similarly, it
was important for LAR to build connections to help
it’s future.

The key visual

The Public Campaign
The key role for this part of the campaign was to encourage people to talk about disability. Encouraging
conversation was key to understanding the issues

People don’t want
to talk about

Are unaware of
the issues face by
disabled people

Need to start the
conversation so
people can begin
to understand the

Awareness film
We launched an awareness film which featured disabled people talking about their experiences of
disability and hopefully encouraging others and society to do the same

(Click the rectangle to open the film on your browser)

Outdoor media
This was supported by outdoor media



As a key element of this campaign was to get people talking, we used social media to inspire
conversation with the hashtag VamosBuzzSobreslsso (letsbuzzaboutit)


The Corporate Campaign
We created a corporate donor club to target local

Brochure: Explaining the corporate donor club

By providing a structured layer of giving, we hoped it
might make it easier for people to donate. We hoped
it would make it more manageable and importantly
help transparency.
We created three layers of giving – food, clothing etc.,
sponsoring bills and financial donation – and attached
rewards to each layer. This was designed to make
everyone feel part of LAR and hopefully incentivise
increased giving.

Press kits

We also created a press pack to excite the press about
LAR’s new campaign and the upcoming Gala Dinner.

The Dinner
The corporate donor club was launched in May
during LAR’s Gala Dinner.
This was a massive movement for LAR as they hosted
several important figures, including senior local
politicians and influential business leaders in Recife.
It was the perfect opportunity to showcase LAR’s new
campaign alongside explaining how the corporate
donor club worked.
As part of the event, we handed out mini honey pots
to guests as a way of providing a little reminder
about the campaign and what it hoped to achieve.
The presentation…and coverage in the press

How the campaign all worked together
Corporates (CEOs)


Demonstrate the value
in investing in LAR

Starting the
conversation about

Supporting society is
good for business

Raising awareness of
the challenges faced
by disabled people


Press Play
During a 4-week project, we went from receiving a brief, research, conceiving and then
developing a campaign. Here it is condensed into two minutes

(Click the rectangle to open the film on your browser)

The Results
‘The campaign is taking Lar to a new level of awareness than we
ever had before. This new interest from the society comes in the
form of donations of products and services. A lot of people are
calling to visit Lar, to organize parties to the children and spend
time with them. In terms of money, there aren't many
spontaneous donations - but we now have greater access to ask’
Delza Ribeiro, Coordinator, Lar Rejane Marques
Myself and Delza in Olinda

The Wins
New internal

It’s quite easy to think ‘how we can engage the outside
world?’, but of course this all has to start from within an
organisation. If they start thinking differently, then you can
start talking to the outside world differently.

public interest
As the quote from Delza demonstrates, the campaign has
definitely helped broaden the awareness of LAR in Recife. This
has come from both public interest as well the media
generating stories around LAR.
media interest

The Losses
Social media

There was always a disconnect between what I envisaged in comparison to LAR. They
used it to post long messages asking for support/help, something which was
incredibly valuable to them and I didn’t necessarily disagree with, but I wondered if it
was the right forum. It was always going to be difficult with the lack of a social media


Getting more to donate financially. This was always going to be a difficult challenge
to meet in a country where charity is seen very differently. So far, this has proven
difficult to change.


One of the best parts about a TIE experience is the way it brings together different
groups of people – you, the charity and the local ad agency. It’s genuinely a great
dynamic. However it doesn’t mean that there can’t be certain teething problems
between different groups which I could have managed better.

What did I learn?



This project is all about overcoming challenges. A new environment, the heat and
language barrier all present their own challenges. Sometimes it was about adapting
or finding a path forward when the path ahead appeared to be blocked. These were
some of the most rewarding moments.
One of the reasons I selected LAR to work with is because one of the clients I work
with in the UK is Scope. As both are charities with a focus on disability, it was
interesting to see how much overlap there might be. One of the main points of
similarity related to how people found it difficult to talk about disability and
consequently thinking about ways to overcome this.

One of TIE’s aims is to take the world of communications outside of normal agency
life. How can our thinking help some of the challenges the world currently faces? It
is clear we can’t solve these challenges on our own but it is certainly clear we can
help influence and challenge people’s thinking.

The Future
I learnt a tremendous amount during my time on
Using my skills outside the normal agency setting was
rewarding and it was a privilege to try and help LAR.
Hopefully they have some new thinking and materials
which they can use to increase support in future.
Importantly, I hope they will be able to find some
more financial sponsors.
Myself and Delza…the work continues

I will, of course, be watching from afar and will be
happy to help if and when I can.

Thank You
This entire experience wouldn’t have happened alone.
Massive thanks go to everyone who gave me a helping
hand along the way.

But to pick out few.
The International Exchange and Philippa White who have
developed a wonderful initiative and made the whole thing
possible in the first place.
Everyone I met in Recife who were great to work with and
helped make my time there amazing.

Sarah Jenkins and Bill Scott who brought The International
Exchange to Grey London. And Lisa Franklin for making sure
I actually got to Brazil!
Grey London who dug deep into their pockets and provided
encouragement every step of the way.

And Finally…
The odd mishap referred to at the beginning?
It is an x-ray of my left hand.
It turns out beaches don’t have as softer landing as
one might expect. My third metacarpal now testifies
to this fact.

Particularly unfortunate if you are due on a flight back
to the UK in under four hours.
Beware…a Brazilian beach

Another lesson learnt.