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BBDO NY, NYPD, Retailer K-Way Team On "Invisible Faces"


Robert Goldrich
Saturday, Apr. 30, 2016


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The New York Police Department has rolled out a missing persons initiative conceived by BBDO New York. The initiative brings together retailers and the NYPD’s Missing Persons Squad in a unique partnership idea designed to broaden awareness about missing persons still yet to be found.

The BBDO concept makes use of store front windows, as well as the generic mannequins passersby are accustomed to seeing.  Instead of faceless figures, a sculpted version of the missing person’s face will appear on the mannequin, turning the storefront into an advertising medium.

Lt. Christopher Zimmerman, commanding officer of the Missing Persons Squad, said, “Increasing public awareness is the key to generating leads.  The more people who are aware, the better our chance to be successful. This is a brilliant idea for helping to make sure that someone missing is not forgotten.  After all, in a city like New York, everyone is so busy, they may not even notice the people around them.  By putting a face on a store mannequin, it’s one more way we can make sure someone missing is not invisible.”

The first missing person to be highlighted on this new initiative is Patrick Alford, Jr., a seven-year-old boy who went missing from his foster home about six years ago.  Unfortunately, he’s still missing.  But the NYPD’s Missing Persons Squad has never given up and continues to search for him to this day.  So Patrick’s face is being sculpted on a mannequin that will be on display in a SOHO-based boutique which was selected because of the large amount of foot traffic the store receives.  The boutique belongs to the 50-year-old heritage brand of the original packable rain jackets, called K-Way.

The mannequin is dressed in the same clothing Patrick was wearing on the day he disappeared, with his bright red T-shirt standing out in juxtaposition to the more muted colors that mannequins standing beside Patrick’s are wearing.  In addition, through the magic of Standard Transmission, a Brooklyn-based studio that specializes in mannequin design, and portrait sculptor Michael Evert, a recreation of Patrick’s head and features – as they would look today – has been created and sculpted by hand to become the face of the mannequin.  Basic information is displayed on a plaque next to the mannequin including, when and where Patrick was last seen.  There’s also an iPad in-store for passersby to engage with and learn more.  A dedicated microsite and hashtag, #BringPatrickHome, has been created to further drive awareness and lead generation:

“We are absolutely committed to reminding the public that their help is needed if we are to ever find him,” said Lt. Zimmerman. “Any information, no matter how seemingly inconsequential, is appreciated.  The ‘Invisible Faces’ program is an ingenious way to gather new leads.  We thank BBDO, K-Way New York and everyone involved for bringing this idea to our attention.”

Said John Osborn, president and CEO, BBDO New York, “BBDO New York is a New York institution, and we are proud to lend our support to the NYPD.  This is our ‘moon shot’ at taking a more innovative approach to partnership and tackling the toughest of problems.  After all, that’s when marketing works best, when it helps solve the seemingly unsolvable.”  

BBDO already supports the New York Police Foundation in various ways, including through its Crimestoppers program.  Last year, the agency designed a communication platform for the department’s new Crimestoppers van, including the slogan “Your City. Your Call.” which was developed through the department and the New York City Police Foundation.  Osborn also partners with the NYPD through his role as president of the Police Athletic League of New York, which counts the NYPD as one of its strongest supporters and advocates.

It is hoped that other retailers will reach out to get involved with the “Invisible Faces” program.  In the meantime, it is expected that Patrick’s face and mannequin will be on display in the K Way store through the middle of May.


Client NYPD Agency BBDO New York David Lubars, chief creative officer, worldwide; Greg Hahn, chief creative officer, NY; Tom Markham, executive creative director; Bianca Guimaraes, associate creative director/art director; Rodrigo Linhares, sr. copywriter; Florian Marquardt, sr. art director; David Rolfe, director of integrated production; Neely Lisk, executive producer; Courtney Fallow, lead integrated producer; Andrew Osborne & Koji Yahagi, directors. Production Standard Transmission Portrait Sculpture Michael Evert Logo Design Bhanu Arbuaratna, Kimberly Blasnik

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