CreateAthon is the pro-bono 24-hour marketing marathon that harnesses Greensboro-based SFW’s creative superpowers for the greater social good. The national CreateAthon movement joins agencies across the U.S. and Canada to develop and deliver advertising, branding and marketing services for local nonprofits that have little or no marketing budget. SFW is one of the largest participating marketing agencies nationwide. This was SFW’s 15th consecutive year participating in the event. And, for the first time, the agency recruited fellow marketing agency Common Giant, out of Winston-Salem, to stay up all night and join in the fun.

CreateAthon 2016 lego wallThe 24-hour countdown clock on the agency’s home page began ticking at 8 a.m. on Thursday, October 27. Working through the night, SFW and Common Giant graphic designers, artists, writers, web developers and account executives burned the midnight oil, racing to complete 88 projects for 33 non-profit clients, totaling more than $204,600 worth of work.

CreateAthon 2016 completed projects by SFW

“Each year we think we’ve reached our capacity and, each year, we dig a little deeper, work a little harder, and get more done,” notes CEO Ged King. “CreateAthon has become an identifying event for our company. It’s something we discuss with potential hires and our clients are across-the-board supportive of us closing shop for two days to give back to the community in this way. It’s really an amazing thing.”

First project completed of CreateAthon 2016
Chelsea and Renée celebrate completing the very first (of many!) projects of CreateAthon 2016.

Year after year, SFW produces the most work out of any agency participating in the event.

“For years, we’ve admired SFW for their efforts in the 24-hour Createathon’,” says Common Giant founder and CEO Phillip Oakley. “We were curious as to what that experience would be like. Now we know. It was exhausting and triumphant. Even though we were ready for it, we were still surprised at the sheer volume of meaningful, outstanding work that took place in such a short time. We were honored to be included and able to give back to the organizations that make a difference every day in the lives of so many.”

CommonGiant team at CreateAthon
The Common Giant team stops by the photo booth for a break.

For the first time this year, CreateAthon National launched a peer-to-peer fundraising campaign encouraging participating agencies to raise funds to help move CreateAthon from a side-of-desk program to a fully sustainable, international pro-bono marketing movement. Each CreateAthon partner was asked to host a campaign page during their respective event. SFW raised just under $1,000 throughout the 24-hour stint, with clients, friends of the agency and even employees contributing to the cause. Half of the donated funds will go towards CreateAthon national to move their mission forward, with the other half distributed across the local non-profits SFW served during the event to contribute to their respective missions in the local community.

Createathon 2016
Our client from Greensboro Children’s Museum stops by CreateAthon 2016 to keep the energy going with goodie bags.

“The work that SFW is doing for Freedom House and so many other local non-profits means so much,” says Murphy Sullivan, Freedom House development director, one of the non-profits SFW worked for. “The work they’ve completed for us in just 24 hours was not only beautiful, but will have a significant impact on our organization. I can’t say enough about the work they do.”