John Doe has been appointed for the pro-bono work in advance of a speech on world peace to be made in Manchester’s MEN Arena by the man considered a living god among many Buddhists.
The campaign will launch with an online video entitled ‘Stand Up and Be the Change’ delivered by cultural icons such as Cocker and McCartney, as well as former REM frontman Michael Stipe, actor Willem Defoe and The Gossip lead singer Beth Ditto.
Rana Reeves is founder of John Doe. He explained that the agency was approached for suggestions around the promoting this month’s visit, which will include a free talk to thousands of under-25s compered by comedian Russell Brand.
‘We asked his holiness to pen a manifesto around what his message of Stand Up and Be the Change means, and we asked people we felt were interesting cultural voices to read a line each,’ Reeves said of the video’s content.
He added: ‘The quickest route to get through to media is to sell in via fame, so we’ve used that and the architecture of promoting fame to promote a message of peace.’
Shot and produced by Dazed & Confused and Rankin, the video around the exiled Tibetan leader's message also had its opening credit produced by Gorillaz.
To further spread the word online and in the media, John Doe has enlisted the help of music PR specialist Dawbell, as well as fashion agency specialist Mandi Lennard, among others.
Reeves added: ‘I set up John Doe to make a difference and working on the cultural and media strategy for this campaign has been an honour. I am especially grateful to the team at John Doe and my colleagues and friends in the industry, who have joined us in promoting this important message.’
The UK visit will take place between 15 June and 23 June.