Research Institute Calls for Action

As world events grow more volatile, the American Committee for the Weizmann Institute is running print ads that target people who, more than ever, want to feel as though they can make a difference.

The five ads, by Oxygen in New York, aim to tap into the do-good urge felt by many since 9/11 and to battle a dip in charitable giving that has accompanied a U.S. recession.

“The ads are a little more poignant, a little more in tune with the way people are thinking,” said Tony Benjamin, agency president.

The effort, which broke in the Feb. 23 New York Times Magazine, targets affluent people who seek more meaning from their lives, Benjamin said. While touting the Israeli research organization’s research, the ads play on readers’ feelings that they should do something for the common good with their wealth.

One ad asks, “Will you be known as someone who enjoyed a good meal or as someone who helped provide for the world’s poorest nations?” Copy details the institute’s projects, such as medical research for the treatment of spinal-cord injury and an effort to make wheat more nutritional.

“The way you think about your life is different than the way you did before Sept. 11. We hope this makes people think that there is a way you can make a long-term difference to humanity,” Benjamin said. “It’s a positive and truthful claim, but it’s still a tricky balancing act to not be too aggressive.”

The institute’s previous campaign focused on raising awareness about its achievements but did not solicit donations, said Jeffrey Sussman, client vp of marketing, communications and public affairs.

The ads will also appear in Jewish- culture magazine Moment and Atmospheres, the magazine for Israeli airline El Al.