assortment of country flags flying in wind

Thursday Thinky: Flag, Diversity & Daisy Chain

If you’re getting anxiety from seeing the US coronavirus numbers spike yet again, do not look at how other countries are dealing with the situation. Instead, enjoy this Thinky with us.

Have a good read!

Creative & Brand

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Sprite has a long history of supporting Black athletes, hip-hop culture, and universal self-expression in its advertising and corporate responsibility initiatives. So naturally, if the brand DIDN’T speak out in this critical moment in our country’s history, it would have been an incredible miss.

Their statement wasn’t immediate though—which actually speaks to the fact that they didn’t take the knee-jerk reactionary approach that so many other brands did, coming out on Day 2 of the protests to announce that they “stand with” the Black community, and are “in this fight for equality together.” They took the wise road and spent a little more time figuring out how to address their consumers, and the public at large, from a place of more authenticity.

Together with their agency, Weiden + Kennedy, Sprite released the “Dreams Realized” spot, which poses the notion that the ideal of the “American Dream” actually left out the “Black American Dream.” It’s a deep and raw statement from a soda brand, but it speaks truth to their ethos, as well as that of their audience. The message isn’t “yeah, we’re in this too,” but goes deeper to the heart of the real issues we’re facing as a country. And, the brand is putting their money where their mouth is, donating $500,000 to the Black Lives Matter Global Network, and creating partnerships to provide financing to hip-hop artists and DJs affected by Covid-19.

Digitas creatives team up on ideas to replace Mississippi’s outdated flag (Campaign Live)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Creatives love nothing more than taking on a challenge without being asked. It’s just in our blood. Last week, “a cross-office design and creative team from Digitas decided to come together as a passion project to create nine alternative flag designs for Mississippi” that could replace their current banner, which is the only one in the country that still contains the Confederate symbol. The creatives leveraged insights about the state’s history, personality, culture, and landscape to come up with designs, which are showcased along with the rationale behind each one here.

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Derek Walker, founder of Brown and Browner Advertising, is not afraid to speak up. He’s one of the few Black agency/creative leaders in advertising and marketing, and while he appreciates the diversity shift that everyone keeps talking about–he doesn’t actually see anyone taking action to achieve it.

I’ve followed Walker on LinkedIn for several years, and have seen how his willingness to call BS on the industry (while at the same time, putting together initiatives like spotlighting creatives of color every day during Black History Month, or developing the Creative Kumite challenge to bring diverse talent together) isn’t always well received. But rather than a white woman sitting here trying to paraphrase his experience and thoughts, please go read them directly.

In the Companies of HuskiesReinventing how children remember the colours of the rainbow (The Stable)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): When I was a kid, I learned the colors of the rainbow by remembering the name/acronym ROY G. BIV. If you do a quick Google search, you’ll also come up with other oddball mnemonic devices, like “Richard Of York Gave Battle In Vain” and “Rinse Out Your Granny’s Boots In Vinegar.” But really–what do those phrases have to do with anything in real life? And what are they teaching our kids?

A creative agency in Ireland (delighfully called In the Company of Huskies), working alongside LGBTI+ support charity BelonG To Youth, decided it was time to update the way kids are taught about the rainbow–not just the physical colors within it, but also the beautiful mosaic of colors represented by the people all around them. It was perfect timing, of course, with June being Pride Month and the emergence of the Black Lives Matter movement as part of our mainstream consciousness.

The result: a new “Remember the Rainbow” initiative, which aims to teach kids a handy phrase for remembering the colors that also delivers a message about treating others with kindness, compassion, and equality: Respect Others. You Grow By Including Variety. The website for the initiative is playful and approachable, using illustration and animation to tell the bigger picture story, and also provides resources for teachers to use in their (virtual) classrooms. It’s these kinds of ideas and executions, while seemingly simple on the outside, that are often some of the most wonderfully inspiring, with the greatest power to create meaningful change.



In the Company of Huskies – Clever Social Posts Celebrate Gratitude for Ireland’s Chief Medical Officer (Little Black Book)

From Melvin (Account Director): We’re staying in Ireland for another stellar work from In the Company of Huskies. When Tony Holohan, the country’s Chief Medical Officer, stepped back from leading the Irish response to the coronavirus in early July to take care for his family, the entire country filled the web with posts showing gratitude to the man who lead them to flatten the curve. Huskies joined the tribute by using a graphic we have all seen hundreds of time since March next to the silhouette of Holohan, with the caption “Not all heroes wear capes”. A nice use of design and science!



Engagement Daisy Chain to Donate (Stop Trump PAC)

From Nicola (Account Director): The Stop Trump PAC sent text messages this week asking democrats to weigh in on which accomplished woman Biden should select as his running mate in order to have the best chance to beat Donald Trump. The engaging survey daisy chains to a donation page that includes many best practice elements: an image that evokes emotion, matching gift offer clearly promoted, monthly giving automatically selected (which explains the low dollar gift options of $1 and $3), and a “time is running out” clock to add a sense of urgency. The gift string jump from $250 to $10,000 is curious and may be worth testing. Since Facebook recently decided to let users block political ads, we’ll likely see many more campaigns shifting from Facebook to SMS text messaging to keep lists engaged.



As anti-Asian hate incidents explode, activists push for aid (LA Times)

From Clara (Senior Account Strategist): We are seeing an alarming rise in hate incidents targeting Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders. Several groups have jointed together to create a resource called Stop AAPI Hate, where anyone can easily log an incident. Organizers and supporters have logged over 800 incidents in California alone in the last three months.

This is an excellent example of a collaboration to develop and support those who have experienced hate incidents, a quick response with a resource where it is sorely needed. While the fact that it is needed at all is atrocious, resources like this are bringing attention and support where they are needed, and where, before the digital age, important experiences and voices may have passed unnoticed and unheard.


Thanks for reading today’s Thinky. See you next week!

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