VSA Partners Remembers the ‘W’ for YWCA Chicago’s 140th Anniversary

By Erik Oster 

VSA Partners launched a new OOH campaign celebrating the 140th anniversary of YWCA Metropolitan Chicago and reminding viewers that the organization centers on one crucial letter: W.

The playful campaign, which can be found on billboards, posters, bus shelters and subway stations throughout Chicago, centers around the tagline “It doesn’t work without the ‘W.'” A series of outdoor ads remove the letter from the names of Chicago terms, people and landmarks like Wrigley Field, Frank Lloyd Wright and Windy City, leaving a space for viewers to fill in the letter mentally.

The letter, of course, stands for “women,” and the campaign makes its message clear following the tagline: “For 140 years, we’ve helped women better themselves, empowering them to better our city.” In addition to the OOH ads, the campaign also includes print (see below), digital and event activation components, including a July 10 “takeover” of a Chicago Sky basketball game, with a meet and greet with player and YWCA-supporter Imami Boyette.

The campaign builds on YWCA Metropolitan Chicago’s unorthodox business model for a non-profit, which includes collaborative relationships with corporations, community organizations, government officials and employees.

“In an era of social-driven value, we are building key relationships with companies and brands that share the same vision of a world where the marketplace advances society,” said YWCA Metropolitan Chicago CEO Dorri McWhorter. “Really, we’re mirroring a strategy of any traditional business model—it’s just not one typically seen in the ‘non-profit’ space.”