Tampa’s 22squared handcrafts billboards with messages of hope after hurricane Irma devastation

Irma Gives Back billboard in Florida

Hurricanes have left quite the wake of destruction this season in the Caribbean and the Gulf of Mexico. The staff of Tampa, Florida agency 22squared took a hands-on approach to help raise hope, awareness and money after Hurricane Irma ripped through the state.

The agency has created fresh outdoor billboards from the remnants of their storm damaged predecessors. The billboards, which look like pieced-together notes, drive to a website created by 22squared, IrmaGivesBack.Org, where people can donate or volunteer through Volunteer Florida, a state-run agency for volunteerism and national service. The campaign is called 'Irma Gives Back' and conveys the idea that through her debris, Irma has a chance to redeem herself and a chance to give back.

22squared partnered with outdoor media vendor, Lamar, to collect the storm-damaged vinyl and create the unique billboards appearing on donated media space in Fort Myers, one of the cities most affected by the hurricane. 22squared employees volunteered their personal time to handcraft the billboards, and the entire initiative, from concept to execution, was created in five days.

“Many of us have family or friends that have been affected by Irma, so this has been a deeply personal project for all of us,” said Garen Bogosian, associate creative director, 22squared. “The idea started with a small group, but as word spread throughout the agency, we had an outpouring of volunteers helping transform these signs of destruction and devastation into signs of hope, and a rallying cry for our communities to come together.”

Luke Sokolewicz, senior copywriter, 22squared, added: “Highways are lined with billboards shredded to pieces. It's a constant reminder that even though the storm has passed, there are still so many people in our community who remain broken.”

The website, aside from urging people to donate, points out how massive Irma was: 650 miles wide, with 185 mile-per-hour wind gusts, 70,000 square miles impacted by the storm and 6.3 million people told to evacuate.

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Kyle O'Brien

I am a reporter for The Drum covering a wide array of topics but always trying to tell the best stories possible. I am a former west coaster from California and Portland, Oregon, now living in Pennsylvania — with time spent in NYC each week.

I also play saxophone professionally.

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