Q+A with UnLtd ceo Chris Freel

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AUCKLAND, Today: AU-based social impact agency UnLtd, which launched recently in NZ, and its long-standing partner Yahoo held a welcoming reception for NZ customers at La Zeppa last night. M+AD took the opportunity for a Q+A session with ceo Chris Freel …

Who is UnLtd and what do you do? 

UnLtd was founded in Australia in 2005 by Kiwi adman Kerry McCabe. After years working in media, Kerry wanted to harness the collective power and influence of our industry to make a positive difference in the world.

It began as an annual event where media inventory donations were auctioned off with all proceeds donated to charities helping children at risk. And over the past 17 years we’ve evolved into the social purpose organisation we are today. We now act as the connector between over 20 charities helping children and young people at risk and over 200 businesses in the media, marketing, creative and tech industry. 

We marry up the skills, time and resources of the media, marketing and creative industries, to drive meaningful value to our charity partners. This comes in the form of supporting a charity’s end-to-end marketing campaign production and placement, sourcing media inventory, donations, fundraising events, and volunteering. We also unlock the skills, time and magic of our charity partners to drive purpose, support, and meaning back to our industry.

We have three beliefs: 

  1. Every young person should have unlimited opportunities, no matter what circumstances they’re born into.
  2. The media, marketing and creative industry and its people have huge potential to use their financial and cultural influence to create social change
  3. If we work together, we have the power to create major social change.

We’re really proud to say that since UnLtd started, we’ve created over $150 million in social impact value which has had a positive impact on hundreds of thousands of young lives. 

You’re obviously well established in Australia, what’s the vision for NZ? 

Our mission is to ensure that every young person has unlimited opportunities. 

There are major social issues affecting young people in both Australia and New Zealand. Youth suicide, youth homelessness and systemic inequality impacting indigenous youth are major issues in both countries. 

Our vision is to raise awareness and funds for these issues and harness the power of the local advertising industry to make a positive impact for children at risk in New Zealand.

But I don’t see this as a one-way donation giving exercise, I want this to be a value exchange for both our industry and charity partners, a collective giving-back loop that creates a positive impact for the next generation.  

“UnLtd connects the media, marketing and creative industries with charities helping children and young people at risk.”

How can agencies get involved?

There are lots of different ways to get involved. One of the easiest ways is to attend our events that raise funds and awareness for our charity partners. We’re looking forward to launching our NZ events early next year so watch this space.

The other way is through social impact partnerships. We build tailor-made CSR programs that match the needs of our charity partners with the skills and needs of our agency partners. The partnerships could include working on a brief for a charity, fundraising, payroll giving, volunteering and much more.

How can charities get involved?

We work with carefully selected charities that are doing impactful work with youth at risk and creating generational change. We encourage any interested charities to get in touch with jade@unltd.org.au.

You launched MOOD Tea in Australia which is now sold in hundreds of supermarkets, how did that come about and will you be looking to create those types of initiatives in NZ?

From the work we do with our charity partners, we’ve seen first-hand what a critical issue mental health is for young kids. Suicide is the leading cause of death of young people in Australia, and New Zealand, and we want to do more to help prevent that.

Our industry is brilliant at promoting and selling products that consumers need and want. So, we came up with an idea to launch a social enterprise to raise funds for youth suicide prevention.

MOOD Tea was born thanks to the generous time and skills donated by the industry. They helped us design and produce the product and promote it in a national multi-channel campaign.

We launched MOOD Tea in 2021 and this year, we entered a major deal with Woolworths that saw MOOD Tea stocked at 865 Woolworths supermarkets nationwide.

We are only recently on shelf in Australia but would love to extend into NZ. That is very much on our roadmap.

We know you’re looking for a NZ GM to steer UnLtd in NZ, what are the key attributes you’re looking for to provide that leadership role?

They will need to be well known and respected by the local media, marketing, and creative industry. They should have an insatiable desire to make a social impact, and be a great hustler and motivator who can galvanise an entire industry for good.

It’s a tough but highly rewarding role, and a great opportunity to positively impact the lives of those most in need.

If you’re interested in applying for the General Manager position, please contact Leanne Bell via leanne@customisetalent.com.

About UnLtd
UnLtd is a social purpose organisation connecting the media, marketing and creative industries with charities helping children and young people at risk

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