Australian businesses will this lunchtime participate in a Richard Branson-backed charity event masterminded by former DDB executive creative director Grant Rutherford.
Rutherford took a break from the industry to focus on the charity he founded in memory of his daughter. The Great Shake-Up is an interactive fundraising event for The Snowdome Foundation that will be broadcast live into boardrooms around the country at luncthime today.
Rutherford said the idea for the event came from a businessman who joked that he would pay not to attend an even. Businesses who have paid $2000 to log into the one hour ‘infotainment’ show will participate online as it is broadcast from a studio in Melbourne by the Seven network with Telstra, Cisco and Viocorp.
Television personality Daryl Summers will host the show and there will also be a live silent auction to win a one-to-one meeting with Sir Richard Branson and two tickets to a red carpet premiere in Hollywood, California.
“It feels like the future of fundraising to me,” Rutherford told Mumbrella. “In this day and age you don’t necessarily have to put something on in a big room, you can get a lot more people involved live over the web.
“We think it’s the first of its kind, and knowing how hard it is to put together, having the stakeholders and technology and everything, nobody could have done this a couple of years ago, and I haven’t heard of anything like it in Australia.”
The project has been two years in the making and will raise funds for blood cancer research through the foundation Rutherford founded three years ago after he lost his daughter Chloe to leukaemia.
Rutherford said it has all been developed and advertised pro bono with support from his friends across the industry.
“Normally I don’t ask for help but everyone knows this is a fantastic cause and they are my personal friends. Without them and their support it wouldn’t be possible,” he said.
When he left DDB 14 months ago, Rutherford said it was a critical time for the charity and he needed to give it his full support to take it to the next level. So far the foundation has raised $4m to deliver clinical trials and therapies for Australians with leukaemia, lymphoma and myeloma, and Rutherford hopes the eventwill be the first of more to come.
He will return to the industry at the end of the month as the national executive creative director at Publicis Mojo. He said: “I feel really excited about going back,” he said. “I’ve had a good 14 months off, and while I might like to have some time off after the event, I wouldn’t have taken the job if I didn’t think it was a fantastic opportunity.”