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SoCal Shop Assists Tsunami-Relief Effort

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LOS ANGELES Independent Black Lab has crafted a multi-faceted marketing campaign on behalf of the upcoming "Force of Nature" tsunami-aid benefit concert, the agency said. Television work broke Friday in Southeast Asia.

The event, featuring popular Asian musicians as well as Western artists Black Eyed Peas, Backstreet Boys, Lauryn Hill, Wyclef Jean, Boyz II Men and others, is scheduled to be held March 18 in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia. Two neighboring venues could accommodate as many as 60,000 attendees.

Paige Gillingwater, president of the Venice, Calif., creative boutique, said the shop had been contacted several weeks ago by benefit organizers Intersection Entertainment, a Los Angeles-based marketing and brand-integration firm. Intersection tapped Black Lab to design a logo, media-positioning strategy, print, radio and TV executions and merchandising concepts for the globally promoted event. Still in development is a football field-size banner to hang between Kuala Lumpur's Las Patronas Towers, currently the tallest buildings in the world.

Although Malaysia was spared the brunt of Dec. 26's tsunami devastation, a government-appointed envoy and other political representatives founded a long-term relief fund to serve harder-hit neighbors including India and Thailand, Gillingwater said.

Benefit announcements began appearing in Southeast Asia two weeks ago, said Intersection executive vice president Joanne Forster, and NTSE—one of Asia's largest newspaper syndicates—ran preliminary pro bono teasers last week. A full-page color ad and two 60-second TV commercials broke throughout the region Friday, according to Forster.

Creative for the initial executions revolves around a bright orange handprint surprinted with the text, "I am a force of nature"—"a helping hand," said Gillingwater.

In the TV spots, filmed at Beverly Hills, Calif., City Hall, shots of the hand are interspersed with vignettes featuring "people doing good deeds," Gillingwater said. In addition, taped messages by benefit supporters including former president Bill Clinton and publishing magnate Rupert Murdoch will be aired on regional radio stations and during the concert itself.

Neither Black Lab nor Intersection would predict the event's ultimate marketing budget. But according to Forster, "the millions of dollars donated for the advertising space for TV, radio, print and outdoor is unbelievable."

Asian broadcasting companies TV3, Astro TV and Astro Radio, among others, have made significant placement donations, she said. Other benefit sponsors include Malaysia Airlines, expected to provide complimentary transportation for more than 200 musicians and production people.

"The creative is great, and Black Lab has been able to turn everything around so fast," Forster said.

The agency has had previous experience developing integrated marketing campaigns for charitable organizations such as Goodwill, the Center for Battered Women and Partnership for a Drug-Free America.