Tag Archives: school

Lego: Build the Future

Ad agency Ogilvy & Mather (Bangkok) have created wonderful print ads for Lego’s new campaign ‘Build the Future’. No surprise here that they won a Silver Cannes Lions in ‘Print & Publishing’ and ‘Outdoor’ for the campaign. The art direction is absolutely spot on.

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The three careers were chosen as most desirable to children, then CGI studio Illusion (Bangkok) created the pieces using 3D illustration. Locations were strategically selected by Ogilvy for the campaign – the astronaut ad was placed at the planetarium or science museum, the rockstar ad was placed at music schools and the firefighter ad was placed in outdoor playgrounds.

Vice Chairman Nopadol Srikieatikajohn (Ogilvy Thailand) told AdFreak:

Lego’s ultimate purpose is to inspire and develop children to think creatively, reason systematically and release their potential to shape their own future. The brand believes that play is a key element in children’s growth and development. High-quality play enriches a child’s life and lays a strong foundation for adult life.

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Meet Julia: Sesame Street’s First Autistic Character

Sesame Street is incredibly nostalgic for me – I used to watch it every lunch time with my mother whilst eating shepherds pie after a morning at pre-school. Random. Anyway, Sesame Street is a truly iconic American show that seems as immortal and recognisable as The Simpsons. The difference between this and other kids shows is that Sesame Street was created (in 1969) as an experiment with the intention of finding out whether television could be used to educate young children. We now know how influential both TV shows and adverts can be on children. Since, they’ve written story lines ranging from basic learning skills to race issues and even coping with death.
On April 10th, “Sesame Street” aired the special episode “Meet Julia” on HBO to introduce viewers to their newest character. Julia was created as part of the ‘Sesame Workshop’ (the non-profit educational organisation behind Sesame Street), alongside their autism initiative, Sesame Street and Autism: See Amazing in All Children’For years, Sesame Street received requests from parents to feature storylines surrounding autism, so Stacey Gordon (plays ‘Julia’, below) and Christine Ferraro (the writer of the “Meet Julia” episode) who both have close family relationships helped bring this character to life. Stacey was uniquely placed to take on the job as her son has autism: “Had my son’s friends been exposed to his behaviours through something they had seen on TV before they experienced them in the classroom, they might not have been frightened. They might not have been worried when he cried. They would have known that he plays in a different way and that that’s OK.”

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A common concern amongst parents of autistic children is how their peers will understand, communicate with them and treat them. As autism has such a broad spectrum, the team wanted to ensure that Julia was represented based on extensive research into common traits of kids with learning difficulties.

Bringing Julia to life as a Sesame Street Muppet is the centrepiece of all of our new materials to support families of children with autism. The response from the autism community to See Amazing in all Children has been extraordinary, and we are committed to continuing our efforts to promote understanding and acceptance of autism, as part of our mission of helping all children grow smarter, stronger, and kinder – Sherrie Westin, EVP of Global Impact and Philanthropy, Sesame Workshop

Although the team were cautious regarding the representation of such a broad learning difficulty in just one character, writer Christine wants Julia to exist as herself, rather than be known as “the autistic one”. Aside from this, the main aim is to teach viewers about inclusion, understanding and patience. I don’t know if it’s the childhood personal tie I have with Sesame Street, but watching the intro video above actually made me quite emotional – the way in which Julia is represented is so endearing and gentle, with Big Bird patiently trying to understand all the facts about her learning difficulty. Scenes include Julia meeting new people, the relation between autism and eye contact, common physical reactions like “flapping”, becoming overwhelmed when she hears sirens and the heartwarming scene where they all join in on Julia’s version of ‘tag’.

The most important part of this well-written storyline is how they have steered away from Julia’s differences being the source of confusion or fear, and instead created the narrative to focus on the rest of the muppets enjoying their relationships and having fun. Whilst parts of Julia’s behaviour were clearly explained to Big Bird and the viewers, the main focus was on integrating Julia into the group, like all the other muppets. My heart has melted!
It just goes to show that whilst TV can be a very scary place for easily influenced children, creatives and marketers can use their platform to educate in a way that has never been done before.

 

P.S. take a look at the comments on the YouTube video – lots of users have praised the creation of Julia as something they wish they could have seen on TV as children.
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Hillary Clinton for POTUS: Role Models

This ad wasn’t enough to open peoples’ eyes to the behaviour and hate-speech projected onto citizens of the USA by Trump. Yet in the aftermath of the US election this election campaign for Clinton seems more prevalent than ever. The ad is perturbed and dark, because it’s real – it’s scary, it’s disconcerting, and children are watching. Children are also far more susceptible, intelligent and aware than we realise.

Agency Droga5 created this ad for Clinton’s campaign based on the discovery that many parents were worried about letting their children watch the US election debates. The message is translated through this eery, very real campaign, communicating that parents were concerned about the potentially negative or inappropriate things their kids would hear from now President-elect Donald Trump.

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Evan – Sandy Hook Promise (PSA)

As the school year winds down, one student finds himself starting an unexpected relationship.

Watch until the very end. With over 2million views, this chilling PSA goes from delightful to devastating in under 2 minutes, uncovering the truth about gun violence and how we’re all responsible for preventing it.

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Dear Apple. Are you high?

Almost a week ago, Apple‘s highly anticipated event became big news in the creative and tech world – but for all the wrong reasons. The new MacBook Pro features a Touch Bar display, high resolution retina display (not massively different) and Touch ID, along with a tummy-tuck, resulting in a lighter device at 17% thinner. So… it’s a new MacBook Air? Not a MacBook Pro?

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Apple’s main demographic – creatives – seem to have been forgotten about with this update… it’s as if Apple have entirely ignored all feedback and requirements of the rapidly evolving creative industry. The Touch Bar and Touch ID seem like just another gimmick – that should be left to the iPhones and iPads – and another way to encourage consumers to purchase the next new thing. MacBook Pro has always been the best notebook for creatives and developers, but now that we’re presented with two MacBook Pro’s, what’s the difference other than a touch function bar? WELL it has two less ports, slower memory and a worse GPU. Great.

Apple decided to dive in headfirst with the introduction of USB Type-C ports on the MacBook Pro (which is a good thing, as it will happen eventually), providing four USB Type-C/Thunderbolt connections. Each connection can be used as a power, thunderbolt, USB, display port, HDMI, or VGA port. That’s pretty awesome and innovative but of course you have to buy an adapter for your ‘old’ USB ports and wires. How much will that cost on top the 15-inch costing £2,349?! If I buy a cheaper version on Amazon will it set alight and burn my house down?

There seems to be a strong disconnect between not only Apple’s target market and their needs, but also the rest of Apple’s products. Remember Lightning headphone gate? Well, despite Apple claiming wireless headphones are the future, the new MacBook Pro has a headphone jack. This works vice versa for iPhones as it’s release didn’t come with the right cable for the new MacBook Pro. Need to charge your Lightning mouse? You’ll probably need an adapter for that now too. It feels like switching from VCR to DVD all over again.

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Following a hilarious Reddit thread (“It just works” – Apple), users showed what a nightmare the removal all wires and the handful of dongles is, resulting in having to carry around even more wires in the fist place! Don’t forget, you can’t use wire headphones with the iPhone 7 whilst plugged into the new MacBook Pro. By the way, the USB-C Digital AV Multiport Adapter is £69.00. I wouldn’t even spend that on a pair of shoes.

Beyond the total cost, (which is a huge issue in itself as Apple should be aware that young creatives may struggle to afford MacBooks at school or at university – I had to receive financial help from my parents on both my MacBook and MacBook Pro, and could only afford an iMac after 2 years of working) once more the main issue here is the lack of consideration for creatives – the SD card slot has disappeared! What about photographers? That will be another adapter they have to buy on top of their already expensive cameras. (Clearly Apple gives no fucks about Photographers after they killed off Aperture in 2014, the beloved photo-editing software, RIP).

The vibe I’m getting from the launch is that Apple wanted to release something as quickly as possible (even though it took 4 years…). There seems to be a lot of loose ends and a huge disconnect between product and consumer. Apple’s main success is their involvement in the creative industry from the very beginning. As technology advanced Windows didn’t catch up, missing the boat on a huge demographic, however, the tables seem to be slowly turning… the updated Mac isn’t suitable for the heavy graphics, virtual reality or 3D work, but Windows 10 have just released a huge update called ‘Creative Update‘ that focuses on 3D, gaming, VR and social.

Microsoft’s CEO Satya Nadella:

We are the company that stands for the builders, the makers, the creators.

I don’t know the last time I laid a finger on a Windows machine, but as a digital designer I’m expecting to see a lot more of Windows in the workplace, unless Apple steps up their game. Microsoft wants Windows 10 to be a home for not only virtual reality, but also augmented reality and holographic computing – this is all hugely on the rise in every aspect of the creative industry, so why did Apple ignore this? Unlike Apple, Microsoft are clearly aware of the average consumer’s budget as not only will the latest version be free to update, they are also teaming up with a number of tech firms to make accessing VR cheaper. It’s as if the new MacBook Pro features were pitched 4 years ago, and they decided to just stay with those ideas despite an enormous technological breakthrough in that short space of time.

There is a huge disassociation between marketing and consumers, particularly when it comes to who needs a MacBook Air and who needs a MacBook Pro. The new MacBook Pro isn’t faster, only thinner. Apple marketing VP Phil Schiller suggested the 13-inch MacBook Pro (without the Touch Bar) was designed for MacBook Air buyers:

We think that a lot of potential MacBook Air customers are going to be very excited by this product, too.

The creative industry doesn’t care for the MacBook Air. I’d probably throw myself off a tall building if I had to do photo-retouching or mobile banner design on a MacBook Air! Whilst the new Microsoft Surface Studio and Surface Book seem pretty niche (the niche being creatives), I still can’t imagine them being as popular as Macs in design and advertising agencies. I could be wrong.

The “you can’t do that on a Mac” ads really pissed me off up until the Apple launch. I found myself yelling “SHUT UP!” every time the annoying animator couple demonstrated their skills on the Surface Studio by Windows:

However, now it’s totally gone in Windows favour as the new Apple update is simply not for artists and graphic designers who use pens or touchscreens to do their work (or anyone who needs more than 16GB of memory).

HEY maybe they’re saving all the special features for creatives for a new iMac next year! Let’s pray.

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Brexit and the consequences Human Rights face

When Brexit was first announced this year, my initial concerns consisted of what will happen regarding EU laws with human rights and animal rights. I’ve already written a blog post on animal rights – mainly the recent EU animal testing policies, so it’s time for human rights to take to the stage.

Current EU law protects rights affecting millions of people in the UK, for example:

  • employment rights
  • economic and social rights
  • equality and anti-discrimination protection in the UK (from European Court of Justice)
  • protection of gender, disability, age, religion, nationality, sexual orientation

Brexit could have a huge impact on these human rights protections, and would be the first time that a significant legal protection of rights was removed from UK citizens. What concerns me most is that there is a risk that the UK government could weaken the anti-discrimination and employment rights protection in UK law. These laws were born from the EU legislation (the rights set out in the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights), and although many EU laws would remain, if the UK segregates itself completely from the EU (and consequently from jurisdiction of the EU Court of Justice) the government would be able to adopt laws that weaken those human rights protections.

Scary, right? I’m British, but was born in Belgium (and moved back to London at 8 months old), so if I had stayed and obtained a Belgian passport, but moved back to London in my teens, for example, I could be in fear of my employment and human rights… Even though my family are of British heritage. This poses a very scary situation for those who have moved to the UK without British heritage, which although I can mildly relate to, cannot ever totally contemplate.

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Of course, when it came to vote, I voted remain! I knew this would happen – I knew the EU Charter of Fundamental Rights (which is so fantastic and fundamental for our nation) would come under strain if we left. Another scenario I could have predicted with a crystal ball was this rise in xenophobia – however, I had no idea it would be this bad. The increase in hate crimes since Brexit is absolutely terrifying! There was a 60% increase in hate crimes after the referendum compared to the year before (from the National Council of Police Chiefs), including reports of assaults and arson attacks towards EU citizens.

Since “What is Brexit” and “What is Britain” were popular Google searches during the referendum, it doesn’t surprise me that people are interpreting Theresa May’s words as an excuse to attack EU citizens, mainly those of non-British heritage. Even the UN Committee on the Elimination of Racial Discrimination (UN CERD) recommended that politicians choose their language and policy proposals carefully when it comes to political speeches, suggesting that

…public officials not only refrain from such [hate] speech but also formally reject hate speech and condemn the hateful ideas expressed so as to promote a culture of tolerance and respect.

When I heard that the government wants to require schools to record the country of birth and nationality of children, I thought this was a joke – a parody of racists – it wasn’t. It was also suggested that employers list their foreign workers and restricted entry to foreign students… these policy statements are very risky as they are conveying a message that the referendum result was a vote to rid the country of “foreigners”. I do believe that’s why the majority of Brexiters voted leave. And that’s scary because essentially, and genetically, I’m pretty sure none of us are actually British through-and-through…

The government now must make it clear what will affect EU citizens and their families as leaving the Council of Europe would significantly weaken human rights protection in the UK. It could weaken the court system in ways that would harm human rights protection across the Council of Europe region. That is scary. Something that makes me very proud to be British (and that never happens – for obvious reasons regarding association of Brexiters) is the amount of asylum seekers who start new lives here, such as members of the LGBT community who fear violence and even death in their country due to laws and a lack of human rights. Not just that, but most people I know have parents who fled their country to start a better life in the UK and have created a happy, successful, thriving life and home here. I don’t think that makes anyone less “British” – anyway, who are these racists and bigots to define “Britishness”?! We should all be forced to have DNA tests on “Who Do You Think You Are?” to shut everyone up (hey, I have French heritage!)

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Le Monde en face : Harcèlement à l’école – France 5 (BA)

A day at work doesn’t look like this. What about a day at school?

A really fantastic concept and advert. I think regardless of how sad this advert is, what makes it so successful is how universal it is, and how there is no narrative speech, but the viewer fully understands the message.

Production : Les Télécréateurs
Conception & Réalisation : Vincent Lobelle
Chef opérateur : Nicolas Loir
Musique : Michael Andrews featuring Gary Jules “Mad World” (alternate version)
Direction artistique France 5 : Eric Rinaldi

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