SCC’s ‘world’s biggest spot’ not an idle boast

It certainly cannot claim to be the world’s largest ad agency.  Or even the largest in Chicago.  But no matter.  Schafer Condon Carter/Chicago can now boast of having had a hand in creating the “world’s biggest commercial.”  

We put the claim in quotes, of course, because it is a boast that has nothing to do with the commercial in question being the longest.  The most expensive.  Or the most talked-about — though one could argue it certainly deserves to be.

The commercial we’re talking about was produced by SCC for Evanston-based Rotary International, which is on a mission to help eradicate polio around the world — a mission that began in 1985.  Since then, Rotary has helped immunize 2.5 billion children. 

As for the commercial itself, it isn’t an effort you’re likely to see on television. Rather, it is a Web-focused video crusade that is based on the simple phrase “this close,” as in the world is this close to eradicating polio.

The phrase is a good one because it can be visually represented by two fingers separated by a small amount of space.  That visual mnemonic works nicely to reinforce the whole theme of this public service effort from SCC and Rotary.

To help Rotary achieve its admirable goal, SCC has developed the Website where the introduction to the world’s biggest commercial can be viewed.

Viewers upload their photos to the video

In the minute-long commercial, we see a number of people — some of whom (Bill Gates for instance) are instantly recognizable — with two fingers positioned “this close” together as the ad copy encourages viewers to join with thousands of other people around the globe to help end polio. 

To show their support for the noble cause, viewers are encouraged to upload their photo and add it to those already visible in the video.

In addition, every person who joins the commercial can opt-in to have their name added to a petition urging world leaders to come together to help provide $5.5 billion that is needed to end polio now. 

PhRMA, the largest pharmaceutical trade association in the United States, already has agreed to make a donation to the cause for each photo uploaded at the site.

Links spreading around the world

The Web site and the commercial are gaining traction as links to them have spread around the globe through a direct mail campaign from Rotary, personal e-mails and social media posts.

“SCC created a powerful commercial that makes it easy for people across the globe to be part of something historic by joining our fight to end polio,” said David Alexander, senior director, communications and marketing, for Rotary International.

Rotary is the world’s largest humanitarian service organization with more than 1.2 million visitors.

Creative executives at SCC hope their Web initiative for Rotary — thanks to the viral power of the Internet — will become a potent and enduring symbol for the Rotary plan to eradicate polio.

Noted Denny Hebson, creative leader at SCC:  “We created a new international symbol for ‘This Close’ that serves two purposes — it immediately communicates across languages and cultures how close the world really is to ending polio, and it gives people around the globe an easy way to help Rotary unite government in an effort to stamp out the remaining cases of the disease in remote corners of the world.”

Contact Lewis Lazare at: