The Annex, powered by Havas Chicago, took its creative to benefit the Chicago community through multiple projects that benefited Wells Community Academy High School in the West Town neighborhood of Chicago.
“We’re a culture-driven agency. Because of that, our team is completely immersed in the West Town community and quickly noticed Wells Community Academy was struggling following CPS budget cuts. It was the perfect opportunity to become more involved in the neighborhood,” said Jason Peterson's, chief creative officer, Havas North America.
The philanthropy partnership was spurred through Havas’ “The Annex,” which they self-describe as “A cultural epicenter for millennials by millennials”
Through the partnership, they created The Annex Neighborhood Portrait Series where four photographers gathered to take holiday photos of community members in the area.
“Holiday photos and cards are insanely expensive. And we thought it would be awesome do something for the people of the community who might not be able to afford that luxury,” Peterson said. “We asked some of our influential photographers to donate time and take professional photos of the people in our backyard. It’ll be a great way to bring everyone together as the holiday season amps up.”
The Annex also concepted the Yarnstallation, an activation to help students learn to knit and crochet, while raising money to make up for the funding cuts from the Chicago Public School budget. Through the project, they created several yarnbombs and raised over $9,000 for the school.
“We were inspired by the art of Yarn-Bombing and created the activation “Yarnstallation” to benefit the students of Wells Community Academy,” Peterson said. “The school, which recently suffered budget cuts, teamed up with us, The Annex, to teach students to knit and crochet; all in hopes of saving the school’s depleting art program. Yarnstallation events raised over $9,000 for the school.”
To kick off the 2016 school year, The Annex and Xtreme Xperience brought the Honor Roll to life. Three honor roll students were driven to Wells Community Academy on Sept. 6 in Lamborghinis and Ferraris driven by professional NASCAR racers.
“As an agency, one of our core values is giving back,” Peterson said. “We believe that if we give back to the communities in which we live and work, there is a mutual benefit. We are a part of the community and take responsibility for helping make it a better place.”
During the midst of the election, Havas Chicago partnered with Hefty to “trash” political ads with ad blocking advertisements to clean up the internet.
In October, the agency also debuted its second annual physical installation around breast cancer awareness. Through the #CheckYoSelf campaign, Havas Chicago brought oversized breasts to the windows in the Near North neighborhood.