christ redeemer statue in clouds

Thursday Thinky: Acceptance & Rejection

  1. At a time when it seems that we are ready to open our arms and minds to more things, we always get reminded that we still have a long way to go.

For example, on one hand, you have Starbucks telling a beautiful story about trans acceptance and supporting the transgender community. On the other, you have the Frida Mom commercial being banned from the Oscar’s for showing a new mom and her new reality. So this week’s will straddle the fine line between acceptance and rejection.

Happy Thursday!



Brands That Caught Our Eye 


Starbucks – Telling a beautiful story about trans acceptance, and then actually does something to help  (Muse by Clio)

This is genuinely beautiful. It’s not heavy handed, doesn’t feel contrived, follows a cleary story arc, puts the viewer in the scene with our protagonist, and delivers an unexpected and poignant moment at the end. It’s genuinely artful from a craft perspective, but what is even more impressive is that it wasn’t just another example of intent without action.


Not only did they commit to a monetary goal, but they’ve attached tangible impact outcomes to it. We know Starbucks has had issues with racism and cultural sensitivity here in the US, but maybe the UK brand has things a little more figured out. Bravo.


Thinky Grade: A



Frida Mom – The Freida Mom commercial that was banned from the Oscars…for being too real (Instagram)

Wow. I mean, wow. There are not a ton of moms here at Media Cause but there are dads…and I think any of us will tell you how VERY real this spot is. It’s also probably good birth control for anyone on the fence about procreating, ha. There is nothing overtly cause-related in this spot, but at its core, the cause is simply normalizing these kinds of conversations that have long been “taboo.” Making it OK to show the messy side of life.


The story, much like in the Starbucks example, isn’t narrated. It doesn’t need someone to “tell” us anything because we are in the moments with our main character. It’s raw and real and powerful. The product set they created fills a genuine gap in maternal care, and the connection that they’re building with their audience goes beyond commerce. SO, WELL DONE.


Thinky Grade: A+



Tackling Big Issues


PETA – A look back at 30 years of PETA’s racy activism, as it heads for retirement (The Drum)

Love em’ or hate em’, PETA’s “we’d rather go naked than wear fur” campaign did get attention. And, apparently, was so successful over the last three decades that they feel like their work is done.

“Now, in 2020, the majority of fashion houses and high street stores have abolished the material. Even Queen Elizabeth has stopped wearing it. So PETA is declaring the campaign a success and publicizing its achievement by sunsetting the catchphrase after 30 years.”


It’s a good reminder that change takes time. We’re not going to solve all the issues with one campaign and a 6-month media flight. But when something builds up in the collective conscious, has momentum, hits on a nerve, connection on emotional and rational levels, it can breakthrough.


Thinky Grade: A-



Joaquin Phoenix and Rosario Dawson Star in Short Film About Climate Change (Muse by Clio)

After watching this 3-min short film from Extinction Rebellion and Amazon Watch… We were not sure what to think, but here it goes:


It feels like the buildup was at least a minute longer than it needed to be. The reveal was too abstract and metaphoric in a way that many people watching without the context of this article wouldn’t get the connection to the “Amazon being called the lungs or heart of the world,” or the indigenous woman who comes in at the end to save it when everyone else thinks hope is lost.


Unlike the Starbucks spot, this feels incredibly heavy-handed to us. The CTA is weak as hell: “What next? Act now.” Act now to do what? Go where? There are supposedly more of these to come from Extinction Rebellion. We hope the next ones in the series don’t feel so much like filmmakers and actors finding a platform to get artsy with impact, and actually tell a story that’s connective and motivational for everyone.


Thinky Grade: C



Getting Inspired


FCB – In an attempt to combat noise pollution in Mumbai, FCB Interface created a traffic signal that stays red longer the more you honk (Campaign Live)

Design can have such a profound impact on driving awareness of issues, and also helping to Sooo, fun gimmick. But how much would this actually mess up traffic patterns, and will it have any effect on drivers’ prevalence to get impatient and honk? How will this impact crash rates or Mumbai Traffic police incidents if people get fed up with the gimmick and just start running lights instead of honking? I’m super curious, because it has really interesting roots in some behavioral psychology strategies. I hope there’s a follow-up.



Adobe – Adobe’s Oscars commercial is trippy…but is it also too expected? (The Drum)

We missed the Oscars on Sunday, but if you watched, what did you think of this spot?
We LOVE that the art was crowdsourced from over 1,000 artists and designers using Adobe software. And also really appreciate the issue tie-in:


“Using the hashtag #CreativityForAll, the campaign will encourage people to tweet about their personal Oscar moment and who they would like to thank. From Feb 6-Feb. 11, for every tweet that includes the hashtag, Adobe will donate $5 to Teach for America in hopes of reaching 15,000 teachers and 500,000 students who might not have access to creative programs.”
But overall, we wanted it to be better. Willy Wonka’s Pure Imagination is a great song, but also very overused. The inclusion of Malala, and the Save file > Save the polar bears transition were two bright spots, but we think they tried to fit SO much inspiration in there that it had the opposite effect, at least to me. We didn’t really connect with any of it, and it felt more like a barrage than a journey or celebration.


There’s so much more to talk about when it comes to effectiveness and measurement…but that’s a post for another day. Thanks for reading today’s Thinky. See you next week!

PS: If any of the above made your wheels spin, we’d love to hear your thoughts–get in touch with us!

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