SOURCE: McKinney

November 20, 2013 09:00 ET

Homeless Shelter Urban Ministries of Durham Sells Naming Rights to Tampons, Toilets and Everything Else in Their Building

"Names for Change," McKinney's New Marketing Campaign for UMD, Sells Naming Rights to All of the Items That Provide Food, Shelter and a Future

DURHAM, NC--(Marketwired - November 20, 2013) - Urban Ministries of Durham, one of North Carolina's premiere nonprofits serving poor and homeless neighbors, and McKinney, its ad agency partner, are inviting everyone to lend their name, and their wallets, to the fight against poverty and homelessness in Durham.

The team that debuted SPENT, the world's first online game about surviving poverty and homelessness, is back with a new campaign, Names for Change, an immersive online experience that teaches about homelessness and offers the naming rights to the hundreds of items UMD uses to rebuild lives in Durham. From tampons to teddy bears, drug test urine cups to deodorant, cans of vegetables to caseworkers, naming rights are available at namesforchange.org, a site that immortalizes even the smallest items' large impact on the life of a person facing poverty and homelessness.

According to Patrice Nelson, executive director of Urban Ministries of Durham, the campaign could not be coming at a better time for the community. "As our government cuts vital services, organizations like UMD must find creative, provocative ways to engage the community to help provide food, shelter and a future. Just as SPENT educated people about what it's like to live on the edge of homelessness, Names for Change will remind everyone that being homeless means losing more than just a home. It will invite them to become part of UMD through a specific moment of kindness -- the moment when a familiar human need like pajamas or baby food or a clean shave is fulfilled. It's a simple yet very powerful concept."

"The challenge of ending homelessness feels so big, so overwhelming, that most of us don't even try," said Jenny Nicholson, associate creative director at McKinney, who partnered with Designer Nick Jones on the campaign. "With Names for Change, we are showing people that changing lives doesn't happen with one big effort, but with a million little ones, and that everyone has a part to play. Even the smallest donations have real impact for the people UMD serves."

Nicholson, Jones and a team of designers, developers, producers and photographers created the site with a photo and lovingly crafted description for each of the 169 items available for naming. "Buy naming rights for any of them, and you'll get an 'officially official certificate of authenticity' that forever ties you to your item and UMD," said Nicholson. "My personal favorite? Probably the tissues, because they represent so perfectly both the sorrows and the joys that come with the struggle to get out of homelessness and into a better life."

Here's how Names for Change works:

  • Visitors go to namesforchange.org and are greeted with rotating photos of everyday items and a message "This is just stuff. Until you don't have it." And a call to action: "Buy naming rights to an item you couldn't go without so someone else won't have to."
  • Visitors can explore 169 items that play a role in helping someone who is homeless or in need of emergency essentials. Some items are termed "bottomless" because they will always need to be replenished (for example, tampons or rice) and can be paid for on a recurring monthly basis. Others are scarcer, like the walk-in freezer or front porch, and can only be named once. Visitors can also explore certificates of named items made by others and listen to testimonials of former and current clients of UMD and the people who work there every day.
  • After clicking on an item, visitors can read a unique description of the important role that item plays in a person's life and see who else has purchased naming rights.
  • Once an item is named, the buyer will be able to customize a lovingly crafted certificate in their own name, in the name of their organization, or in honor of someone else. The certificate may read, for example, "The Jenny Nicholson Tampon of Compassion is fearlessly fighting homelessness in your name at Urban Ministries of Durham." Visitors are able to share this certificate via social media, email it, save it and/or have a printed version shipped to any address just in time for the holidays!

About Urban Ministries of Durham

Urban Ministries of Durham offers food, shelter and a future to poor and homeless neighbors. Now in its 30th year, the nonprofit helped end homelessness for 245 people during the 12 months that ended in June. UMD's Community Café serves some 600 meals a day, donated and prepared largely by community volunteers. The Clothing Closet and Food Pantry help 408 households per month, on average. The Community Shelter welcomes about 140 homeless neighbors every night, with 80 beds for men, 26 beds for women and nine family rooms. To learn more, visit www.umdurham.org.

About McKinney

In 2012, McKinney was named the most effective independent agency in the world by Effie Worldwide. This year, the agency was named the third most effective agency office in North America by Effie and its client Mizuno USA the most effective brand in North America.

Founded in 1969, McKinney is recognized for having one of the most innovative business models in the industry, focused on big ideas brought to life in powerful conversations between people and brands. McKinney has also been recognized as one of the best U.S. agencies, one of the Best Places to Work in Marketing & Media by Advertising Age, and one of a handful of agencies setting the standard for creativity by One Magazine. The agency's clients include Nationwide, Nationwide Financial, Mentos, Travelocity, Samsung, Hankook, Sherwin-Williams, Gold's Gym, Mizuno, Royal Canin, CenturyLink, Dognition, Big Boss Brewing, Durham Convention & Visitors Bureau, and Urban Ministries of Durham. McKinney is part of Cheil Worldwide, one of the world's leading marketing communications networks with 59 offices in 33 countries. McKinney has offices in both Durham, North Carolina, and New York.

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