Monthly Archives: December 2016

National Geographic: Gender Revolution

National Geographic will devote an entire January 2017 Special Issue to an exploration of gender, featuring cover star Avery Jackson (9-years-old). Avery first made her name earlier his year when Planting Peace painted a house they had bought across the street from the Westboro Baptist Church compound in Topeka (2013) in the LGBT and trans* flags, and declared Equality House a symbol of peace and positive change for the LGBT community. It was Avery (then 8 years-old) who came up with the idea for a trans house, and helped paint it:

I love the transgender flag—it’s beautiful and makes me smile. I’m happy that we will have a house painted like the flag to show that transgender people are beautiful and will make them smile.

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Now, trans voices like Avery’s are being heard more frequently, and her story is being told on 27th December 2016 alongside an in-depth look into gender from different perspectives. The special issue will address gender identity, sexuality, puberty, and the problems those who don’t confirm to traditional gender norms endure physically, mentally and socially. The issue is parallel to ‘Gender Revolution’, a two-hour documentary co-produced and hosted by Katie Couric, premiering on Nat Geo in early February.

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This special issue is being published at a really crucial time in history, as young trans* suicides have risen and transphobic abuse is the norm online. On top of a presidential committee next year who are all anti-LGBT, it’s important that influential media representatives like the National Geographic represent gender in a human, kind and inclusive way. Although the negative connotations surrounding the trans* community seem to be as strong as homophobia was 50 years ago, a lot of progress has been made, and that’s largely thanks to media outlets like the National Geographic, who allow gender-nonconforming and trans* folk to share their unique stories with the world.

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Branding: Diz-Diz Popcorn

I can’t say I’ve ever seen such extravagant and fashionable popcorn packing before! Gourmet microwave popcorn brand Diz-Diz hired branding and design agency TATABI Studio to design packaging for their unusual flavours.

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The colour-scheme and metallic packaging is so on trend, particularly as gold and silver tones (especially rose gold) are dominating fashion and clothing designs. These beautiful combinations, on top of a white and grey marble, are also prominent in cosmetics brands – I feel like I should be rubbing the popcorn on my face, not eating it!
Usually consumers would be interested in the speed and ‘ready-meal’ appeal of microwaveable popcorn, but TATABI have gone above and beyond this POS, focusing on the quality and aesthetic of such a simple product.

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Google: Year in Search 2016

I’m not crying, you are…

Wow, 2016 has been the worst year for humanity during my lifetime. I’ve cried more tears over the destruction of lives (emotionally and physically) than I have over my own personal challenges this year.

2016 was the first time in my life that I questioned whether I really wanted children (this is coming from someone who’s wanted nothing but that since I can remember) – whether I wanted to ever create a human being and bring them into a world where we are all still so divided. Not just a handful of us, like I thought it was – there are a lot of people out there who believe that certain groups of people are better than others. Thousands and thousands of them.
I’ve lived my life with the reassurance that bigoted people are idiots who live in a tiny bubble with a small group of other morons, mainly due to my educational background family and friends. The revelation that we actually haven’t progressed as a society as much as I assumed we had has left my heart broken and my hope for humanity shattered into a million tiny pieces.

It’s draining and it’s tough voicing my opinion and trying to make a difference when people don’t truly care. Something I’ve also learnt over the last few years is that there’s a huge difference between ‘caring’ and ‘doing’ – we can’t possibly defeat the likes of homophobes and racists by saying “I have a black friend”, “I went to gay pride” – you have to fight. You have to stand up and say “NO!” – you have to correct people and educate people. We may be fast approaching 2017, but sadly we’ve not actually made much progress…
I don’t know what it will take to shake people into realising that sharing a Facebook post won’t stop a suicide from homophobic bullying or a young black man being shot. What I know is that if you’re reading this, you have access to 2 of the most powerful things right now: your voice and the internet. USE THEM!

“Love is out there. Search on”

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#CHRISTMASSOWHITE

Christmas So White is a project that aims to shine light on the lack of diversity in advertising, particularly in this case, BAME (black Asian minority ethnic) families in Christmas campaigns.

This campaign, inspired by the #OscarsSoWhite campaign, aims to protest the underrepresentation of people of colour online with particular focus on Christmas, which is currently a white – wash.
In partnership with Selma Nicholls from Modelling Agency ‘Looks Like Me’ and with huge support from 8 agencies within the marketing community, Selma, Nadya, Nathalie and Wren set up a photoshoot to show different representations of the unseen British Christmas experience.

“I’m dreaming of a wh-multicultural Christmas!” This gorgeous campaign is sadly so reflective of race on our TV screens and in the magazines. The campaign has been financed by 8 large media and marketing groups including Google, MediaCom, Saatchi & Saatchi and Edelman. Devised by Nadya Powell, the website will aim to form a hub of Christmas imagery of families from diverse backgrounds celebrating the festive holiday through the use of the hashtag “#ChristmasSoWhite” on social media.

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AKQA: The Snow Fox

Creative agency AKQA have created this children’s digital storybook for Christmas, transforming the traditional bedtime story of flicking through the pages into a beautifully designed app.

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Inspired by the winter tradition of stories by the fire, The Snow Fox puts the magic of storytelling into the hands of children like never before, giving them the power to bring each page to life in their own personalised story.

Not only is the app’s aesthetic beautiful, the added detail such as personalisation (name and gender of the child) and recordings of the child’s voice for a rendered video at the end is the perfect addition to this digital book.
I love the illustration style and colour palette, which seems to be a rare find in companies and brands who randomly roll out apps and games (not naming any names, Channel4’s ‘Gogglebox’ game, wtf) with little consideration regarding the design.

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GLAAD: Trump Accountability Project

GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is one of the many LGBT+ organisations I support, and am very fond of, not only because they are a non-governmental (and therefore non-profit) organisation, but also because of their purpose – GLAAD is a media monitoring organisation founded by LGBT people in the media. Their aim is to tackle tough LGBT issues and consequently create a narrative that leads to cultural change.

GLAAD has taken the open homophobic and transphobic statements made by republicans very seriously, and used this information to create ‘The Trump Accountability Project (TAP)’, “a resource for journalists, editors, and other news makers reporting on the Trump administration, which catalogues the anti-LGBTQ statements and actions of President-elect Donald Trump and those in his circle.”
The aim of TAP is to hold those on Trump’s team accountable for their hate speech, stemming from GLAAD’s original project ‘Commentator Accountability Project’ (CAP) which aims to bring anti-LGBT statements to life, putting information about anti-gay interviewees into the hands of newsrooms, journalists and editors. Similarly to this project, GLAAD aims to do the following with TAP:

…Use first-hand statements, video, and/or audio to document the animus displayed by people being appointed into positions of power in the U.S. government. GLAAD will update the following profiles with new statements that disparage LGBTQ people, women, Muslims, Immigrants, and many others. GLAAD will also share this information with reporters, journalists, producers, activists, and fellow organisations each time they make headlines anew.

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What a great project. It’s a shame how targeting works on social media, as Trump supporters probably would never see these types of articles and projects on their feeds (not that it would necessarily change their minds). The US election really opened my eyes to targeted ads and news feed items, especially on Facebook…
Now listen up. Organisations like GLAAD can’t exist without donations, so please reach into your privileged pockets and donate towards an amazing cause – love, acceptance and unity! Pretty please!

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Anomaly London: 12 Days of Christmas

A Tale of Avian Misery from Anomaly London has seriously set the bar high when it comes to agency Christmas cards! Directed by Ben White and Craig Ainsley, written by Craig Ainsley, and wonderfully narrated by Phoebe Waller-Bridge, this hilarious modern-day take on the Christmas song ’12 Days of Christmas’ is so bizarrely ridiculous, but so perfect.

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CANAL: Kitchen

One of my favourite ads of all time is for CANAL+ (‘The Bear’), which has raised the bar for the ads by BETC Paris for CANAL (they recently merged CANAL+ and CANALSAT).
Whilst their newest spot to celebrate a the revamped network isn’t on par with ‘The Bear’, the idea, execution and visuals are fantastic! As always, BETC Paris has nailed alternative concepts to TV advertising amongst their competitors.

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Women’s Refuge: The Shielded Site

Horrifyingly, New Zealand has the worst rate of family and intimate-partner violence in the developed world, so Saatchi&Saatchi (New Zealand) teamed up with the Women’s Refuge to help tackle this problem.
Dr Ang Jury (Women’s Refuge Chief Executive) says:

We’ve noticed an increasingly disturbing trend of perpetrators using smartphones, software and apps to track and stalk women, during and after the relationship has ended. The very tools we hope would assist a woman in seeking help are being used to abuse, and we needed to do something about that.

The solution involves an anonymous website that protects women from from those who may check their browser history. The website appears as a widget on websites (currently only The Warehouse’) and allows users to access help. 1 in 3 partnered women in New Zealand reported domestic abuse, and other findings include:

  • 64% of women suffer from psychological abuse,
  • 49% physical abuse,
  • 23% financial abuse,
  • 21% harassment and stalking,
  • 12% sexual abuse,
  • 11% abuse with weapons,
  • 24% of cases included a child witnessing or hearing it happening
  • Family violence rates spike dramatically in NZ before and during the holidays

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These stats are insane, and it goes to show that there is a hell of a lot of work to be done to protect domestic abuse victims. However, I’ve just noticed a serious problem with how this is being tackled – the website claims that:

The shielded website allows victims to seek information online under the guise of browsing The Warehouse website.  A victim in an abusive relationship who is seeking support or advice can safely can visit The Warehouse website, click on the icon, and be provided with vital information without leaving a browser trail.  A perpetrator tracking a victim’s online movements and browser history will see they’ve only visited The Warehouse website.

So, if the abuser sees ‘The Warehouse’ or any of the other future supporters of the project (so far The Warehouse is the only organisation currently taking part in this online initiative) on their partner’s browser history and has read about the ‘shielded website’, this will contradict the entire reason for the project. Whilst anyone or any business can support the Women’s Refuge by adding the Shielded Site button to their website, won’t victims still be at risk if this appears in their browser and is recognised by their abuser?

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Nike: Da Da Ding

Wieden+Kennedy (Delhi) wanted to tackle the issue that Indian advertising is still dominated by light-skinned women usually depicted in the home, leaving little to no inspiration for women who have no interest in being a housewife, or simply wish to enjoy sports and training. Sportswomen in particular are hugely under-represented in Indian advertising because girls are typically encouraged not to participate in anything that doesn’t benefit marital decisions or their assumed futures as mothers.

Mohamed Rizwan (Creative Director at Wieden+Kennedy, India) said:

Sport in India has a massive image problem, particularly for women. What we set out to do is give it a complete makeover by making it cool, accessible and fun. To that end, we commissioned some of the best image makers and musicians, and got together a crew of women that best represent sport in India right now.

Incorporating fierce sports stars, Indian pop culture and a catchy beat, this fantastic (and clasically Nike) ad was also accompanied by album artwork for the song “Da Da Ding”. W+K co-wrote the lyrics to “Da Da Ding” with Gizzle – at first glance, I assumed the song was a Missy Elliott number, but is in fact by Gener8ion feat. Gizzle. The fast-paced, inspiring song perfectly compliments the stars of the advert. These include national hockey player Rani Rampal, surfer Ishita Malaviya and former national badminton player (and Indian film actress) Deepika Padukone. The campaign is integrated in social media too, publishing the portraits below (by photographer Aman Makkar) of everyday athletes, national athletes and Nike NTC trainers on the popular networks Instagram and Dubsmash.

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The Asian market often depicts sport as too masculine, a waste of time and not a suitable career option. However, all of W+K global offices work on Nike, and after W+K Delhi won Nike in 2015, they haven’t steered away from the celebration of female sports stars despite the culturural differences.

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