Bilingual Spokesbear Talks About the Unspeakable

LOS ANGELES The Children’s Bureau has enlisted the aid of the teddy bear in a new campaign by The Ballpark and La Agencia de Orci aimed at addressing child abuse prevention and increasing awareness of the nonprofit organization.

The campaign, which was created pro bono, includes English- and Spanish-language TV, radio and outdoor ads focusing on the image and thoughts of a teddy bear.

“The thought process was the teddy bear was the only witness to child abuse,” said Alan Berkes, partner and creative director for The Ballpark in Los Angeles. “Therefore, he was the best spokesperson or spokesbear.”

Three TV spots are set to a children’s music box lullaby. The 60-second commercial has an overhead camera zooming in on the teddy bear’s face. A male narrator, as the bear’s voice, discusses the frustration he feels when he cannot comfort an abused child. There is also a 30-second spot that reveals at its conclusion that the voiceover is meant to come from the bear, and a 15-second ad in which the teddy states, “I don’t bruise. Children do.” All of the spots display the toll-free Children’s Bureau phone number.

The outdoor component, which includes 600 billboard and bus-top ads, shows the tattered teddy bear and employs messages such as “I lose my fur. They lose their childhood.”

Susan Wirth, director of communications for the Children’s Bureau in Los Angeles, said the campaign is a departure from previous efforts. “It’s our eighth year doing this and we’ve gone from controversial to warm and fuzzy with children,” Wirth said. “This was a neat way of representing our cause without being offensive visually.”

While La Agencia de Orci in Los Angeles has done pro-bono work for the Children’s Bureau in the past, this is the first gratis effort from The Ballpark, said Berkes, adding that the shop was looking to give back to the community after the events of 9/11.

The campaign, which is backed by $1.25 million in donated media, will appear primarily in Los Angeles and Orange County.