JWT Turns the Black Bars on Vertical YouTube Videos Into Ad Space for Nonprofits

Anyone can join the 'Donate the Bars' project

Turning every usable surface into marketing space is known as ad creep. But this YouTube project by J. Walter Thompson Brazil gets away with it—because the beneficiaries are nonprofits who generally don't have the budgets to advertise in existing paid media.

When vertical videos are posted on YouTube, two black bars appear on each side. With thousands upon thousands of videos uploaded daily, that amounts to a huge amount of unused space—which JWT is mobilizing with its "Doe as Barras" ("Donate the Bars") project. And anyone can participate.

It works like this: Any YouTube user who is uploading a square or vertical video can do so through the doeasbarras.com.br website—and donate the black bars as media space for an NGO. It works from desktop or mobile. Check out the explanatory video here:

Some of the NGOs that have joined the project include Alcoólicos Anônimos, Ampara Animal, Afroreggae, Associação Brasil Parkinson, Gravidez Sem Álcool and Instituto Ayrton Senna. Other nonprofits can participate by inquiring on the website.

"We hope to give these institutions dedicated to important social causes an opportunity to share their actions and messages with a broader audience and with no cost, transforming a useless space into a media outlet," says Ricardo John, chief creative officer at J. Walter Thompson Brazil.

Agency: J.Walter Thompson
CCO: Ricardo John                  
Head of Planning: Isabella Mulholland
Head of Art: Fabio Simoes
Creative directors: Hernán Rebaldería / Gustavo Lacerda
Copywriter: Pedro Araujo
Art directosr: Fernando Palandi, Pedro Ricci
Account team: Thiago Galdi, Yves Rodrigues, Marcela Castelli
Media team: João Dabbur, Siloe Neves
Chief Strategy Officer: Fernand Alphen
Creative Technologist: Drausio Tronolone
Motion Designer: Marco Loschiavo
Head of Digital Production: Maisa Delgado
Digital Producer: Helio Valente
Production company: Epico Digital
Sound: Shuffle