Expanded "This Close" resources available
Bill Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, is the latest public figure to help Rotary spread the word about polio eradication through billboard and print ads.
Bill Gates, cochair of the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, has joined the growing roster of public figures and celebrities participating in Rotary’s “This Close” public service announcement campaign for polio eradication.
Rotarians can help Rotary achieve its goal of a polio-free world by using the public service announcements, which explain that "we're this close to ending polio." Television versions are now available in English, French, German, Italian, Japanese, Korean, Portuguese, and Spanish. A radio version also is available in English, with other languages to follow.
In late February, the campaign will offer an online, interactive feature -- thisclose.net -- that will allow individual Rotarians and members of the general public to personalize “This Close” ads with their own names and faces.
Also new to the campaign are Archie Panjabi, a film and television actress, and A.R. Rahman, an Indian composer and music producer who received two Academy Awards for his contributions to the 2008 hit film Slumdog Millionaire. In all, 24 notables -- from Nobel Peace Prize laureate Archbishop Emeritus Desmond Tutu and action movie star Jackie Chan to golf legend Jack Nicklaus and conservationist Jane Goodall -- are raising their thumbs and forefingers in the “this close” gesture in the print, outdoor, and broadcast public service announcements being distributed worldwide.
Rotary clubs can use the ads within their communities to increase awareness of and support for Rotary’s US$200 Million Challenge, the ongoing effort to raise $200 million for polio eradication to match $355 million in challenge grants from the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation.
Clubs and districts are encouraged to customize the “This Close” ads to help promote their own polio fundraising efforts, and to seek donated or discounted placements from their local newspapers, outdoor advertising companies, and television and radio stations. The materials complement the polio eradication component of Rotary’s broader Humanity in Motion public image campaign.
The “This Close” ads were introduced at the 2010 International Assembly. Print ads have since run in several publications, including The Rotarian magazine, USA Today , the Chicago Tribune , and the Wall Street Journal Asia . Rotarians at the 2010 RI Convention also saw them at Montréal-Trudeau International Airport.
The RI Public Relations Division sought participants who represent a wide range of professions, accomplishments, interests, and levels of celebrity. There are figures of international and cross-cultural fame, such as Tutu, Queen Noor of Jordan, and classical violinist Itzhak Perlman, as well as figures who are well known within specific countries, regions, and cultures, such as Bollywood superstar Amitabh Bachchan, Nigerian soccer star Nwankwo Kanu, Beninese singer Angélique Kidjo, and Korean ballerina Sue Jin Kang.
Perlman, a polio survivor, has been particularly supportive of Rotary’s polio eradication effort. He will perform in his second benefit Concert to End Polio on 7 March with the Chicago Symphony Orchestra at Symphony Center. The first Concert to End Polio was a sold-out event featuring Perlman and members of the New York Philharmonic, who performed at the Lincoln Center for the Performing Arts in December 2009.