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Thursday Thinky: Soap, Bias, & the Future

To kick start the month of July (2020 is halfway over!), we take a look at what’s ahead of us by highlighting campaigns that propose solutions to the covid-19 crisis, to daily racial microaggressions, to voting access, and more.

Enjoy the long weekend and stay safe out there!

Creative & Brand

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Brand Purpose has taken on a whole new meaning these last few months, and American consumers aren’t standing for mere lip service anymore.

A new report from Porter Novelli “unpacks key data and insights on the intersection of social justice, DE&I and racial inequality in the United States – and how Americans expect companies to not only speak up, but step up.” This general momentum shouldn’t be surprising to anyone, of course. But what might be surprising is just how deep the dissatisfaction with the current state of corporate America runs. According to the report, “35% of employees are reconsidering their current job because their company is not doing enough to address social justice issues externally.”

This presents a pretty interesting opportunity for the nonprofit industry. If so many in the consumer world are fed up with the current situation, can organizations who fight for justice, equality, and human rights provide an alternative career path? How can we harness this unsettledness for the greater good, and greater impact?

Lush – Lush makes 30-second soap to help stem Covid-19 pandemic (Contagious)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Hand washing has never been more popular, or critical, than it has in the last 4 months. And yet…not everyone is doing it well enough, or for long enough, to really be effective at stopping the spread of COVID-19 in their homes and communities. We’ve seen countless campaigns, tricks, and ploys from brands and creatives to try to hammer home the importance of proper hand washing. But sometimes a message isn’t enough.

Enter cosmetics brand LUSH, which is widely known for its corporate responsibility and activism programs. Rather than just telling folks to wash their hands, they created a soap that makes it practically fool-proof to wash the right way. 30 Second Soap, developed in partnership with Dubai-based agency And Us, literally dissolves in 30 seconds. If it’s not dissolved, you’re not done washing. Not only is the product brilliant in its simplicity, but LUSH was also brilliant in its distribution plan, working with food delivery service Deliveroo, one of the largest food delivery companies in the UAE, to distribute the soap with all of its meal orders. It’s also available for purchase at, which is a fun little microsite experience all on its own.

NeuroGen Brain and Spine InstituteOne mindful mind (Clio)

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): According to the WHO, 1 in every 4 kids between 13-15 years of age in India suffer from depression, anxiety, mood, or conduct disorders. Not unlike our own schools, India’s educational system has been slow to respond to this with the necessary levels of mental health resources, counseling, and curriculum.

NeuroGen Brain and Spine Institute, together with TBWA/India, created One Mindful Mind, a kit that gives parents the ability to become counselors for their kids, instead. It includes tools like flashcards, a mood journal, a mindful workbook, thought cards, and a parents guide to conversation and collaboration with their kids. The design is stunning, and the theory behind bringing mental health into the home has the potential to break down significant barriers. I can’t help but wonder if this kind of effort would also be valuable in our own school systems—although in both countries, our kids still deserve to have their whole-selves acknowledged, and nurtured, in a school environment, too.

From Amy (SVP Brand + Creative): Some folks from creative agency The Escape Pod recently realized something that we probably all knew, but never really thought about: many names from the Black community (and likely, many other non-white groups) aren’t typically recognized by autocorrect functions in Apple and Microsoft products.

The agency postured: how can anyone feel accepted by the world around them if their name is considered a mistake? So they created #AddMyName, a social advocacy movement designed to encourage the tech giants to change their spellcheck libraries. While the work was picked up by Campaign US, their video has minimal views, and their hashtag on IG doesn’t seem to have any traction yet. Which begs the question—why? I would bet that there are hundreds, if not more, of these potentially “big” ideas being created every week, and yet so few of them get the momentum that’s needed to affect change. How do we fix that? Can we come up with a way to get more unpaid visibility for efforts that have real potential to create change? Could we as an industry decouple the ownership from the impact, and take more time to spotlight the great ideas of others? I don’t really know the answer, but I’d love to try to figure it out, so we can all accomplish more together.




Earth Speakr – Kids Take Over Olafur Eliasson’s Interactive Artwork Earth Speakr (Little Black Book)

From Melvin (Account Director): Ever since covid-19 shook our world, brands quickly pivoted to ask their audience: what will the new normal look like? What will the future look like? If your future self could send you a message, what would they say? But only a few of them had the presence of mind to actually ask the generation that is the future, kids!

Icelandic artist Olafur Eliasson is one of them and he recently launched the Augmented reality app Earth Speakr. Kids can use the app to animate their environment and speak up for their local surroundings and the planet. Adults can then help amplify these voices by creating AR collections of messages, called Loud Speakers, and virtually place them in front of parliaments, museums or anywhere they wish for other people to listen to the future.



For Navajo Nation In Arizona, The Election Process Is Complicated And Problematic (NPR)

From Clara (Senior Account Strategist): We have the honor to work with several clients (Brennan Center, HeadCount) who are addressing an urgent and important issue facing our nation right now: voting and access. Aside from the push to ensure Americans participate in the democratic process, we know that underrepresented and underserved peoples face even bigger and more complex challenges to actually vote, even if they are registered. One group that needs specific attention are Native American communities.

This piece from NPR highlights the myriad of challenges Native peoples face when it comes to voting. For one thing, many Native Americans have very limited access to mail service (facing such hurdles as lack of door-to-door delivery and relying on far away PO boxes). And then there’s lack of access to broadband—2/3 of Navajo Nation do not have a subscription. And on top of that, there are other key problems, such as lack of translation services. And then, even when solutions are being rolled out, citizens aren’t being made aware that they’re there. This makes me all the more committed to helping our clients who are working to solve these problems do excellent work, and reminds me of how far we have to go.

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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