Battery, the Los Angeles-based creative advertising agency (and Raconteur’s newest client!), has launched the second marketing campaign to come out of their initiative An Idea for L.A., a pro bono program that provides a marketing makeover for local businesses struggling to stay open during the COVID-19 pandemic. After their first round for Seoul Sausage, a popular L.A. food brand, Battery selected an equally deserving business among the hundreds of submissions: Rhythms of the Village, an African cultural center in Altadena that has been enriching the local community with a focus on African culture and education for over a decade.
Treating the ROTV campaign with the same attention and care a traditional brand client would receive, Battery highlighted the vital importance of a small business promoting a rich cultural heritage through a series of films featuring Onochie Chakura, who established the Rhythms of the Village (ROTV) cultural center in 2013 out of a storefront in Altadena.
At ROTV, the Chakura family sells handmade African clothing, art and knickknacks. More than just a store, ROTV offers classes in African drumming and language courses on the Nigerian Igbo and Yoruba dialects. On the last Saturday of every month, ROTV distributes locally grown fruit to the local community. The center also periodically presents Tribal Nights, events in which L.A. artists, creatives and vendors share their talents and art with the community to build a larger following and gain more exposure.
The upbeat centerpiece film “Welcome to the Village” illustrates the need to support and foster these grassroots, community-based endeavors that go beyond simply selling a product or a service. As Onochie Chakura explains, “Rhythms of the Village is a cultural center where our doors are always open to the community. Remember, it takes a village. So all are welcomed to be the light.”
In addition to the films, the Battery campaign also includes radio spots all donated through iHeartRadio, 9 digital OOH billboards spread across L.A., and a Los Angeles Magazine print ad. For Onochie’s son Emeka, the generous donated media served as the cherry on top of what he called an incredible experience. “The team from Battery lifted our spirits and brought a lot of light to our business. We felt like a family by the time it was complete. They contributed to a resurgence here at Rhythm, with their presence alone, and within our community. People are already talking to me about the radio commercials that they have heard playing!”
Right now, countless Mom-and-Pop companies and local independent businesses that are crucial to the cultural fabric of L.A. are scrambling for survival. It is home to more minority and women-owned businesses than any other city in the country, and more than 90% of L.A. businesses employ fewer than 20 workers. The lucky few who were able to get small business emergency loans under the Paycheck Protection Program cannot spend it on marketing. That’s where An Idea For L.A. came in.
“At Battery, we’ve all staked our own careers and livelihoods on the power of creativity to solve big problems,” says Philip Khosid, Chief Creative Officer at Battery. “So we’re stepping up to pay it forward to the city that gave us the opportunity to build the business of our dreams, with the one thing we know works. Because we get it.”
Thanks to An Idea for L.A., ROTV is able to spread the word to the larger community that they are open and thriving. “Rhythms of the Village is a cornerstone for many in the Altadena and LA community,” says Battery Creative Director Drea Schneider. “It has served as a place where children have grown into adults and passed on their learning, acceptance and understanding for African culture. During this pandemic, the center has had to dial down its operations and is struggling to stay open. Our campaign is designed to spread awareness of the center and help revive its business.”