Category Archives: social design

Chris Hughes for Mental Health Awareness: Top man | CALM

Yesterday, Love Island’s Chris Hughes released a bizarre video campaign for a collaboration with Topman called “L’eau de Chris”. The video posted on Instagram received a lot of criticism, labelling Chris a joke and a narcissist for selling the drink for £2. The post saw the 24-year-old star posing in his underwear with “Mineral water infused with a Chris Hughes tears”.

 

As an avid Love Island viewer (no shame here) I assumed that the ad was a parody and a p*ss-take – Chris is known for his dead-pan humour and providing many giggles to millions of viewers this summer. To my surprise the campaign was in fact real, but not for a self-absorbed product to build his brand. Chris has teamed up with mental health charity CALM (Campaign Against Living Miserably) to raise awareness about male mental health and the male suicide epidemic.

CALM launched the #Don’tBottleItUp campaign to urge men not to internalise their emotions after it was found in a poll for YouGov that 84% of UK men say they bottle up their emotions. Chris collaborated with world famous photographer RANKIN for this project.

L’eau de Chris? What’s really ludicrous is that suicide is still the single biggest killer of young men in the UK. We live in a culture that encourages men to “man up” and bottle things up. That’s why I’ve become an Ambassador for CALM and why together with TOPMAN we want to show men across the UK that it’s okay to open up instead of bottling it up.

Hughes is now proudly an ambassador for CALM, and broke down in tears at an event yesterday whilst explaining his own struggles with mental health. Whilst on Love Island, Chris was praised for being very open with his feelings, something which men and boys struggle with immensely. Whoever chose Chris as ambassador certainly hit the nail on the head when it comes to targeting young people, as his name is everywhere in the world of gossip and celebrity since stealing our hearts on ITV2.
The limited edition promotional run of L’Eau de Chris water bottles (yes they are real) created for Chris’s campaign launch will now be auctioned here, with all proceeds going to support the charity. Also, Topman will donate £2 from every pack of Topman boxers sold from 10th – 31st October to CALM, in support of the #DontBottleItUp campaign.

 

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Period Equity: Periods Are Not a Luxury

Just like here in the UK, 36 states in the US still collect sales tax on tampons and sanitary towels. In June 2017, the federal Senate in Australia voted down a motion by the greens to remove the GST from all female sanitary products, a tax which does not apply to condoms or lubricant. Absurd right?! So, ad agency J.Walter Thompson and The Sweet Shop created an absurd product to go with this tax law, along with a tongue-in-cheek campaign for Period Equity.
Along with the help of actress/model Amber Rose’s sultry voice, they point out that 36 US states have failed to classify menstrual products as a necessity, therefore taxing them as a luxury… just like a diamond necklace! The campaign actually launched at Amber Rose’s OPENed Women’s Conference and annual SlutWalk on September 30th in LA.

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This isn’t the first time I have blogged about Period Equity – the redesign by Pentagram’s Paula Scher caught my eye earlier this year.
Most people are not aware that the tax targets half of the US population, and I definitely think this issue should be raised (again) in the Houses of Parliament here too. What a fantastic campaign.

Jennifer Weiss-Wolf, co-founder of Period Equity said:

We were thrilled to collaborate on this project with JWT and Amber Rose. There’s a long road ahead in the fight for safe and accessible menstrual products for all, as well as instigating open, shame-free conversation around periods. This campaign, coupled with Amber’s unflinchingly strong voice on gender issues, is a smart approach to drumming up much needed discourse around menstrual equity, and calling for systemic change as well.

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Trans* Ban: Not a Burden

There seems to be running theme with the illustrations I am creating. It’s impossible to ignore the garbage that comes out of Donald Trump’s mouth, and it’s certainly impossible to ignore messages of hate, including transphobia.
In August, Trump’s directive issued a military policy that would prohibit transgender people from joining all branches of the armed forces and ban military healthcare plans from funding sex-reassignment surgeries. Trump has decided to discredit American heroes based on their gender identity by directing the military not to move forward with an Obama-era plan (from 2016). The plan allowed transgender individuals to be recruited into the armed forces, along with a ban of the Department of Defense from using its resources to provide medical treatment mentioned above.

Once more, many trans* heroes will be left in limbo in so many different ways – mentally, socially, financially and emotionally. Trump’s decision pours salt an already transphobic wound that a large part of the world is desperately trying to heal.
This illustration questions what exactly is the difference between a cis-soldier and a trans-soldier? Nothing.

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Global Breastfeeding Week: This Sucks

Directed by Jon Lawton, this campaign for Global Breastfeeding Week focuses on the tagline “breastfeeding is nicer than you feeding”. Featuring the empowering and vert apt song “F*** The Pain Away” by Peaches, Lawton powerfully conveys a juxtaposition of a peacefully breastfeeding mother and baby, and people scoffing messy food. It’s illegal to prevent a woman from breastfeeding, yet mothers still feel a stigma attached to feeding their babies in public, often feeling embarrassed and judged.

Jon Lawton, creative director at Stink Studios said:

A month ago I read a news story about a woman being asked to leave a restaurant because she was breastfeeding, which is total bullshit. Have you seen people eating? It’s disgusting. All lips, sauce and gob. It’s like we go backwards in our ability to do the most simple human task. Babies feeding, by comparison, is the most elegant form of the act. The Peaches post-punk track was just perfect. Loud, proud, with a fuck-you attitude. If one mother feels more confident breastfeeding in public because of the film – that’s all I want.

I love the direction Jon has gone in with this short film – it is incredibly empowering and goes to show that breastfeeding (the most natural thing any mammal can do) is in no way comparable to grotesque, slow-mo clips of mouths devouring greasy, processed fast-food.
Check out the GBW website linked above – it’s a shame they haven’t looked into a re-brand to match the bold film.

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Meet the Meat: M&C Saatchi

The Task Force on Human Trafficking and Prostitution (TFHT) teamed up with M&C Saatchi (Tel Aviv) to campaign for the legislation to prohibit prostitution, aiming to put an end to the prostitution industry in Israel. Mortality rates among Israeli female prostitutes are 40 times higher than the rest of the population, so M&C aimed to reduce the demand for prostitution by engaging with consumers who finance the industry.
The message for this campaign is that women are not a product for consumption, so they created a pop-up ‘food’ truck parked opposite the Israeli Parliament selling “women’s meat” sandwiches called ‘Breast Amal’ and ‘Ribs of Yael’, packaged into brown paper bags with real life stories of prostitutes:

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The experiential ‘Meet the Meat’ creative also features a truck with an illustration of a woman’s body divided into ‘cuts’, just like a cow. The vivid and disturbing creative reflects the dark facts – according to a survey by the Ministry of Social Affairs and Social Services, 12,500 women, men and teenagers are employed in prostitution in Israel.

Tzur Golan, ECD and Partner at M&C Saatchi, Tel Aviv said:

We can’t stand by and let this continue. It’s important to highlight the fact that every day vulnerable men, women and teenagers are employed in prostitution – and it’s getting worse. The best way to stop the wheels of this industry is to harm demand – if there’s no demand there won’t be supply. We wanted to create meaningful work and will continue to support TFHT as they continue to take a stand against the prostitution industry.

This is an incredible example of using advertising for social change – not just creating awareness in the most basic marketing form, but by using an in-your-face, bold and gross tactic is a sure way to get people talking. Hopefully it will get the government talking too.

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ASA Will Introduce Guidelines for 2018 on Gender Stereotyping in Advertising

The Advertising Standards Authority has reviewed its approach to ads that feature stereotypical gender roles, following the publication of an investigation into gender stereotyping in advertising; the Depictions, Perceptions and Harm report. The report claims that gender stereotyping in advertising causes harm towards individuals, the economy and society.

In 2015, the infamous “Beach Body Ready” advert sparked concerns for the sexualisation and objectification of women in advertising, creating a conversation with ASA about how women are portrayed as desirable based on their bodies:

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ASA conducted a review following the complaints, but now the regulators are receiving complaints about ads that feature sexist stereotypes or mock people who don’t follow traditional roles. The new standards are only guidelines and are not intended to ban all forms of gender stereotypes, e.g. there will not be a ban on ads showing a woman cleaning or a man doing DIY tasks. However, subject to context and content considerations, the evidence suggests the following types of depictions are likely to be problematic:

  • An ad which depicts family members creating a mess while a woman has sole responsibility for cleaning it up
  • An ad that suggests a specific activity is inappropriate for boys because it is stereotypically associated with girls, or vice-versa
  • An ad that features a man trying and failing to undertake simple parental or household tasks

“CAP will report publically on its progress before the end of 2017 and commits, as always, to delivering training and advice on the new standards in good time before they come into force in 2018.”
So, the ‘guidelines’ suggest that agencies, brands and companies should consider whether the stereotypes shown in their campaigns would “reinforce assumptions that adversely limit how people see themselves and how others see them”. Here is a list of what should be avoided:

  • Roles: Occupations or positions usually associated with a specific gender.
  • Characteristics: Attributes or behaviours associated with a specific gender.
  • Mocking people for not conforming to stereotype: Making fun of someone for behaving or looking in a non-stereotypical way.
  • Sexualisation: Portraying individuals in a highly sexualised manner.
  • Objectification: Depicting someone in a way that focuses on their body or body parts.
  • Body Image: Depicting an unhealthy body image.

Ads suggesting specific activities were suitable only for boys or girls are problematic and something ASA advises against. This is a topic I investigated at university for my gender project and for my dissertation exploring masculinity in modern advertising. It’s quite incredible (and worrying) to to dissect the vast range of gendered stereotypes advertising still depicts. There is an enormous list of adverts that have been criticised for depicting masculinity and femininity stereotypically, and here are just a few examples:

Aptamil depicting gendered roles for boys and girls

KFC suggesting anxiety/mental health isn’t manly (the ad has been taken down – sorry for the poor quality!)

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GAP portraying only boys as academics

Whilst a lot of people will claim that these guidelines are “over-sensitive” and “PC”,  the mocking of women and men and the reinforcement of stereotyped views of gender roles are issues that have gained considerable public interest, with the facts to support the claims:

The move follows a major research project from JWT (New York) and The Geena Davies Institute in the Media which analysed 2,000 ads and found that women in advertising are “humourless, mute and in the kitchen’. According to the research, women are 48% more likely to be shown in the kitchen.

JWT’s recent Women’s Index surveyed 9,000 women and found that 85% of them felt advertising and film needed to “catch up with the real world”. Additionally, since concerns were raised about gender portrayal in advertising, brands have taken a conscious decision to change the way men and women are depicted. Unilever recently teamed up with Mars, Facebook, and WPP to form the Unstereotype Alliance – a group dedicated to purging gender bias from ads – followed by an ‘Unstereotype’ pledge. Following this, they created Dove and Lynx ads which aimed to smash traditional gender roles, and consequently saw a 24% increase in consumer ratings.
Lynx ‘Find Your Magic’ is actually one of my favourite male brand ads:

In a time where we need feminism, diverse masculinity and gender diversity more than ever, I think this is a wonderful idea. The fact that they are guidelines rather than rules also helps show people that based off research, this sets a standard that we should all (not just creatives) adhere to when it comes to gender. Sort of like a moral code.
It’s hard to believe that 40+ years after the Sex Discrimination Act we are still seeing gender discrimination on our screens.
Often, I wonder if people are becoming desensitized to feminism because a large majority of people actually believe that women have equal rights just because we won the right to vote or can become a CEO. When it reality, we are far from gender equality – salaries aren’t the same, women and discriminated against and girls are still sexualised.

So if you think this is “over-sensitive”, you need to EDUCATE YO’SELF!

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The Atlantic: Michael K. Williams Asks “Am I Typecast?”

Weiden + Kennedy (New York) have created an incredible short film for The Atlantic magazine featuring actor Michael K. Williams, who questions if he is being typecast in Hollywood. This is an incredibly poignant topic, and it was performed in this ad so poetically, discussing issues such as race relations and the US election.

Following The Atlantic’s tagline “Question Your Answers”, the short film conveys four different versions of Michael interrogating each other about whether he can escape being typecast. It’s a topic one would assume shouldn’t be an issue in 2017, but it is and always has been.

David Shane (Director) said:

This was such a nice opportunity for Michael to un-typecast himself because, in one piece, he gets to show his dry comedic timing, his raw menace and the depth of emotion he’s able to access. This is a deceptively simple looking piece – the degree of difficulty for him was so much greater than it looks. He had a lot of balls in the air.

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Patrons of Pride: Mr President

Ad agency Mr President celebrated pride by creating illustrations to honor 4 iconic LGBT+ icons. Immortalised in the style of stained glass windows, Ellen DeGeneres, George Michael, Nicola Adams, and Laverne Cox were chosen as representatives of love, tolerance and inspiration.

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The agency explained the reason behind the project:

Here at Mr. President we celebrate diversity in all its forms. We don’t care about your gender or sexuality, we think you’re awesome. … Together we talked, laughed, debated and swapped stories before creating our Patrons of Pride campaign honouring four incredible people from the LGBT communities (one from each) – Ellen DeGeneres; George Michael; Nicola Adams and Laverne Cox.

 

It’s nice to see a campaign that has no link to a brand/client or marketing campaign – sometimes it’s difficult to differentiate between genuine support for the LGBT+ community or just a marketing ploy.
The illustrations were displayed on windows overlooking Soho Square for Pride in London on Saturday 8th July:

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Pride in London: Love Happens Here | WCRS

WCRS were commissioned by Pride in London to create a campaign for Pride 2017, whilst also marking 50 years since the legalisation of homosexuality in the UK. The campaign has been huge, featuring TV ads for Pride for the first time ever. In fact, the campaign has been split into two narratives – love and hate – to portray both ends of the spectrum for the LGBT+ community.

Hate
The first part of the multimedia campaign explored hate crime, emotionally and physically, including posters, Wi-Fi takeover, an event, London taxi skins and a film:

Additionally, an advert directed by Fred Scott will appear exclusively on Channel 4 during a special season of programming, followed by four films. The emotional advert (below) ‘The Apology’, features apologies from those who have lost relationships with love ones after judging and not accepting their sexuality:

 

Love
The second part of the multimedia campaign, released today, will include digital OOH sites portraying real life love stories from members of the LGBT+ community, illustrated by 30 different artists and illustrators. Illustrators have created the works for free, using the branded heart ‘pin’ icon, which will be available at the Tate as part of their Queer Britain season.
Here’s a few of my favourite illustrations:

Love stories are available on Pride’s interactive love map:

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The ‘Love’ aspect of the campaign aims to show that love happens in London despite the sad reality of the ‘Hate’ part. Ross Neil, ECD at WCRS said:

This is a campaign that started from a negative place of hatred and has blossomed into a full technicolour, full volume, inclusive expression of love. The greatness of the creative is matched only by the sheer scale of companies and individuals.

The campaign doesn’t stop there – Pride are encouraging Londoners to create their own pins and share their love stories on social media. It’s a fantastic campaign, and whilst I’m not the biggest fan of the original heart pin design itself, the multi faceted narrative this campaign has explored is wonderful.

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BBC Creative / Mother: Sorry Not Sorry for Being Me

Ad agency Mother (London) have teamed up with BBC Creative to create a branding campaign for BBC Three’s new project. Created by Mother Design, the campaign is for a new season of original programming about self-expression – something that sounds right up my street! This is an integrated campaign, which the audience can contribute towards. Engaging with young, diverse viewers with a message about identity and uniqueness, the aim is to promote BBC Three, and ignite a conversation about self-identity. The campaign also encourages viewers to create their own poster and share it on social media platforms.

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The campaign includes online media, DOOH, billboards, broadcasting through the BBC’s own channels, and social media:

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I’m definitely a fan of this campaign both in terms of concept and execution. The art direction is simple but bold. It’s also nice to recognise the faces of those in the campaign (above)!

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