Headspace continues agency hunt: ‘we’re still looking for a Melbourne agency to work with us pro bono’

Youth depression charity Headspace, which found itself without an ad agency following the closure of DraftFCB Melbourne, is still looking for a replacement after calling a pitch more than seven weeks ago.

A long-list of thirteen agencies was drawn up in mid-September, with an emphasis on finding a Melbourne agency or agency with a Melbourne office.

The charity’s head of corporate affairs Elisabeth Tuckey told Mumbrella: “We came close with a couple of agencies, but we’re still looking for the right fit. As a not for profit organisation, we’re after an agency that’s willing to work with us pro bono.”

“We can pay production costs and contribute a small margin. The other criteria is the agency needs to be Melbourne based, or at least have a presence in Melbourne,” she said.

DraftFCB Melbourne folded in early September following the loss of lynchpin client Honda.


  1. Alison_F
    30 Oct 12
    1:36 pm

  2. “DraftFCB Melbourne folded in early September following the loss of lynchpin client Honda.”
    …hmmm, free work wouldn’t have helped their bottom-line either!

  3. Mike
    30 Oct 12
    1:44 pm

  4. One key problem with pro bono agency work, is that the recipient charity rarely if ever values the work produced, because it has no dollar value attached to it.
    With a clear mind-set on fundraising, charities tend to ascribe value in dollar terms, whether spent or saved.
    It’s human nature – they don’t always mean to be excessively demanding, but in most cases, they don’t know when to say “thankyou, you’ve done more than enough”.

    In practice, this means limitless demands being made on creative, on production, on attendance at meetings, because none of it is costing a cent.

    The parameters of involvement need to be strictly determined upfront, but frankly, I’d suggest donating the $100,000 or however much, and part with your best wishes.
    That said, agencies who want to be able to tick the “CSR” box on RFPs probably have another reason in mind.

  5. CC Dorito
    30 Oct 12
    1:52 pm

  6. I’m looking for an airline that will fly me free.

  7. Larry
    30 Oct 12
    2:10 pm

  8. And i’m sure that’s its the first time any of those 13 agencies have heard that they want an agency to work pro bono. I’m not so sure they would have had the response they got if that was the case.

  9. Shamma
    30 Oct 12
    2:50 pm

  10. does pro-bon mean the agency makes its money on taking a clip of the production costs under the table?

  11. Miikey C
    30 Oct 12
    3:10 pm

  12. A little bit of fair play goes a long way. How many of the marketers in headspace work for free?. Their funding comes from somewhere (worthy cause, so i am guessing federal govt). Some metrics on we receive this $$$$ to achieve this would allow them to think a little more realistically about approaching 13 agencies for nil result

  13. Penguin Alert
    31 Oct 12
    1:51 pm

  14. I thought “pro bono” is when the agency burns through the client’s budget (on full-rate creative and production), and then sends a long, heart-wrenching email to publishers asking them to “get involved in such a vital project” by giving away loads of free inventory?

  15. Solid gold creativity
    31 Oct 12
    4:00 pm

  16. This is a really interesting issue; I had a recent experience using the “PB” word too which didn’t go well. As Mike says, one of the pitfalls is that the client can end up being over-demanding without realising it. There’s got to be another, more creative alternative, instead of this simple cost vs pro-bono dichotomy.