Autism Speaks with Jade Albert Photography and Tommy Hilfiger
April 19, 2012
Recently photographer Jade Albert teamed up with the Ad Council and BBDO to create the Autism Speaks campaign for 2012. New York-based Albert is well known for her whimsical kid’s photography. On this collaboration with the creative team of Bill Shea, Creative Director at Autism Speaks and Patricia Rocco, Creative Director of BBDO, Albert had the opportunity to support an important cause and a way to give back with her photography. Albert has a long list of prestigious credits and she has been recognized by The New York Times and Advertising Age as one of the nation’s leading commercial children’s photographers. Her work has been published in many articles for Conde Nast and Hearst publications, and she has been a contributing photographer on Andy Warhol’s Interview magazine.
It has always been Albert’s aim to bring out the beauty of children, inside and out in her work. She believes that the essence of every child is unique and the growing knowledge and awareness of autism only emphasizes that belief and has made her a staunch supporter of the cause.
Autism Speaks is the world’s leading autism science and advocacy organization, and one of its sponsors is the Ad Council. As Shea explains, “Since our campaign launched in 2006, Autism Speaks has received over $315 million in donated media. Autism Speaks is also one of the top charities in the current Ad Council roster. Autism Speaks’ multi-year Ad Council public-service advertising campaign stresses the importance of recognizing the early signs of autism and seeking early intervention services.
To add to the prestige and power of Autism Speaks, fashion icon Tommy Hilfiger came on board for 2012 campaign. With Hilfiger’s support, Shea felt they had to do something very special for the print component of the campaign. “Before I worked at Autism Speaks, I was a senior vice president, creative director, at McCann Erickson here in New York,” says Shea. “I became a fan of Jade Albert then and I always wanted to work with her. When this opportunity came up I knew that she was the perfect photographer to shoot our print ad, and I am thrilled that she did. Not only did Jade give it her all, but she also donated her time and photographer’s fee to the project.”
The concept for the campaign was to compare the odds of parents’ hopes and dreams for a child (like becoming a top fashion designer as Tommy Hilfiger) with the odds of a child being diagnosed with autism. Currently the odds are 1 in 110, 1 in 70 for boys.
Albert’s vision for the project was to cast a little boy that looked like Tommy Hilfiger, and it was also her idea to style the room like an art studio. Hilfiger loved the idea. Albert chose to use Kaden, aged 5 years old, to help communicate the Autism Speaks message. Kaden is already a professional in he industry and has been featured by the CuteKid Model and Casting Team.
Albert wanted to portray a young boy with dreams of becoming the next superstar fashion designer — without any boundaries. On the production side, Albert always believes in being well-stocked with props. She was able to bring a wealth of choices to help create a dreamy environment of playing dress up. The shoot was done in New Salem, New York, where the lighting and setting also helped to create the perfect mood for Kaden to play in the comfort of his own room.
The creative team that consisted of stylist, photo, and digital tech also made the production special. Albert and her team focused on the goal of making everyone a little more aware of autism, which resulted in successful and satisfying collaboration.
Hilfiger was thrilled from conception to the finished ad with Albert’s photo that ran as a full page in The New York Times recently. The campaign debuted at the Plaza Hotel in New York City on December 5th, 2011, with Hilfiger as chair for the gala, and Albert’s poster featured prominently at the fundraiser. Alberta and her team were very thankful to have been part of this campaign and welcome and are ready for the next opportunity to bring the Autism Speaks message to a wider audience. She continues her enthusiasm for all her projects including books, her latest being The Charm of Charms (Harry N. Abrams), directing television commercials (Target) and gallery exhibitions.
You can learn more and find ways to help Autism Speaks at www.autismspeaks.org/signs. You can also see more of Jade Albert’s captivating style and vision at her site, www.jadealbert.com. Jade Albert is represented by Doug Truppe and can be contact through him at 212-685-1223 and visit Truppe’s site at: www.dougtruppe.com.