It may seem an unlikely alliance - a worldwide advertising and communications company, and an international organization dedicated to solving the world's problems - but it is one that seems to be progressing rather nicely.
This year's State of the World Forum has taken a giant leap forward in terms of profile, with advertisements in many of the world's largest newspapers and magazines, and a live website donated by Saatchi & Saatchi Worldwide.
A 90-minute meeting between Saatchi & Saatchi chief executive, Kevin Roberts, a New Zealand marketing and communications company, State of the World Forum president, Jim Garrison, and the Forum's financial and communications advisor, Tom Rautenberg, started a four-month process in which the relationship between the two organizations was formalized.
Mr. Garrison describes that meeting as exhilarating. "We just discovered mutuality…. You know most corporate people you talk to are guarded, they're bottom-line driven, they're not going to give you anything unless they're going to take ten times more, but we just talked…it was an amazing conversation."
"Kevin Roberts is a unique businessman. Every one of my dealings with him shows him to be a deeply caring man. He's very engaging, but unlike most businessmen he's deeply caring, about community, social justice, and about the future," he said.
Saatchi & Saatchi were keen to come on board because the association with the forum is a tangible step towards their transformation from a traditional advertising agency to a "hothouse of world-changing ideas," says the Saatchi executive in charge of the State of the World Forum, Alfa Tate-O'Neill.
"The Forum is about world-changing ideas, and it's not just concerned with politics or economics, but is looking at the big picture. Through us, the Forum has been able to reach out to audiences it hadn't reached before."
Most of Saatchi & Saatchi's advertising of the Forum has been on a pro bono basis - advertising that is estimated to be worth between a half and one million dollars.
"So far, it's been it's been a wonderful, wonderful relationship from top to bottom," Mr. Garrison said, even though he concedes there were some reservations among the Forum's board at the start. "But as soon as I met Kevin and Alfa, I was just totally convinced that we were dealing with the right people at the right time for the right reasons."
"We would like to see it [our relationship] continued and expanded on in the coming years. Saatchi & Saatchi and the Forum share the motto 'nothing is impossible'. This combination is allowing the incredible expansion of both corporate possibility and altruistic possibility."
Saatchi and Saatchi are equally committed to keeping the relationship as a going concern. Alfa Tate-O'Neill has already been working on some long term radio, television and Internet programs to keep the Forum's issues on the boil, especially two of the Forum's initiatives, The Whole Child and Empowering Women. "This is just the beginning," she said.