Thursday Thinky: Art, Ethics, & Gaming

After a few weeks of hiatus to push our brand new website live, the Thursday Thinky is back!

For those of you who are not yet familiar with the Thinky, every Thursday Amy Small, our VP of Brand + Creative, curates a roundup of great (and sometimes not so great) ideas across a variety of spaces–cause marketing, philanthropy, NPOs, brands, design, tech, innovation, etc–to share with our team. It is such a source of inspiration for us that we decided to turn it into a blog series so we can share it with you.

This week’s edition features an inspiring new shoe from Nike, a bold move from the Baltimore Museum of Art, a discussion on ethics and historical figures, an underwhelming PSA from the American Lung Association, an innovative use of Fortnite by the Royal Canadian Legion, and… a bonus visit to South Dakota.

Happy Thursday!


Brands That Caught Our Eye


Nike – Nike’s latest shoe isn’t for athletes, but for real life everyday heroes–medical workers  (CNN)

What’s wonderful about this is that Nike went all in on this product! They did first hand user research to understand the needs and daily experience of the people they were designing for. “The company went to OHSU Doernbecher Children’s Hospital in Portland, Oregon, to study those in the profession. They took into account the challenges of those on the job– including long hours on their feet and liquid spills — and the comfort needed for long shifts.” Bravo!


Tackling Big Issues


Baltimore Museum of Art – Adopting a daring new policy for 2020–only acquiring new work from women (Baltimore Sun)

The move is “designed to reverse the art world’s historic marginalization of female artists,” and it’s no coincidence that it’s timed to honor the 100th anniversary of the  19th amendment giving U.S. women the right to vote. The museum director acknowledges that it’s a radical move, but believes that’s really the only way to start balancing the representation issue in the art world. So what do you think, too bold or spot on?



On the ethical issue of reassessing great historical figures by modern social standards: should Gaugin (the artist) really be a legend? (New York Times)

This is very interesting read that resonated with us because our Art Director, Rob Shaw, did a presentation a while back around the designer of the popular Gill Sans typeface, who allegedly sexually abused his own daughters. Both work/artists begs the same question: how should we as a culture, as individuals, but also as makers/marketers/creatives, distinguish between the value of someone’s work, and their ethics/behavior as a human, especially when they lived in a vastly different time than we do now? What’s your take?



American Lung Association – A really important message for former smokers about lung cancer screenings (Campaign Live)

Is it just serious enough to resonate, or too bland to make an impact? It was the latter for me because it feels like a medical ad. The only thing missing is the potential side effets. The creative is nothing  stellar. There’s no surprising insight, although some of the stats are compelling. Would this have been more powerful if it were an individual’s story vs. a CG rendering of lungs? If it was a chronology of lung cancer in reverse, bringing someone from their deathbed back to the moment they decided to have–or not to have–an early screening? Curious to hear your thoughts. 


A Different Twist On Video Games


Royal Canadian LegionCreating a memorial to honor Canadians who died in combat in the most unlikely place: Fortnite (Muse By Clio)

Online gaming worlds continue to offer so many interesting opportunities to create real connections in virtual worlds, and reach a completely new demographic/audience by meeting them where they are. What I’m really curious about is the participation and the impact? How many gamers did go explore the island? Are there any activations to donate or take any other actions? I also wonder how this was received by the families of veterans.


And Because We Could Not Resist…


South DakotaSouth Dakota is apparently “On Meth,” in case you didn’t know. (Washington Post)

That reminds me of the Chappelle Show’s sketch, “When keeping it real goes wrong” ‍♂️. This is why we have strategies, creative briefs, reviews, and… that thing called common sense.




That’s it for today’s Thinky. See you next week!

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

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