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Getting all power of the human spirit on us, Nike is out with Back Your Block, a $650,000 grant program developed to support local communities and schools and to "unlock the potential of young people through programs that focus on sport."
Social marketing (formerly youth marketing..but, ya know, they jumped on the bus just like everyone else) agency Mr. Youth, created the campaign website, a promotional video, blog outreach and activated an army of 250 Task Force influencers to pimp the effort buzz marketing-style.
One of the most interesting people I met at Cannes last week was Herve De Clerck, who runs Ad Forum and Act Responsible.
In this video he talks about how Ad Forum operates, and in great length about Act Responsible -- its humble roots out of the ashes of 9/11, and how it's pushing to do two interesting things:
o Encourage the advertising industry to contribute its talent to social and environmental causes
o Promote the work of those that do
"Every year we gather the work for social and environmental issues ... and every year, we put on an exhibition," he said. The exhibition was held with support from DraftFCB, on a sunny terrace alongside the Palais, where you could grab a coffee, check out the beach and stroll at leisure through a wide-open gallery of interactive and print-based cause work from around the world.
- Houses come a-hunting on Twitter. (More proof that in this market, it's do-or-die time.)
- Love can be complicated. (But once you pop...!)
- The revolution will be Tweeted. In Iran, anyway.
- 140-character twibutes to Michael Jackson. Srsly.
- Spike Lee, out loud and in Cannes.
- Seed bombs. That plant seeds!
- When writers go apeshit.
Hey, Cannes Lions delegates! Have a big heaping slice of buzzkill, brought to you by Weisser Ring!
I get that these are for a good cause. Given the appropriate context, these particular pieces are damn stirring.
But given that this image ornaments the exterior of the Palais and these ads plaster the interior, you gotta wonder: which sadistic member of the ad festival planning committee picked out this year's damaged kids motif?
Calling attention the to the practice of plumping, injecting chicken meat with salt water to increase size, weight and cost, Foster Farms has launched Say No to Plumping, a website that features two chickens, Betsy and Martha, talking to each other about plumping as if it were a botox treatment.
Goodby Silverstein & Partners created the work. The site also includes plumping facts and figures, how to detect a plumper, links to health resources and an interactive "Plumpinator" calculator to help site people calculate how much money they waste on saltwater from plumped chicken each year.
Seriously. If we all just stepped back and took a look at the idiotically stupid, inane and unhealthy things we do as humans simply to make an extra buck or two, we'd actually laugh. Seriously. Injecting chickens with water to make them...what...taste more like water and less like chickens? Are we really that idiotic?
If you think you have challenges in life, meet Aaron Fotheringham, a wheelchair-bound 17-year-old who's created a sport called hard core sitting. Basically, it's extreme skateboarding in a wheelchair.
Recently, Discovery Communications hooked up with Fotheringham who appears in a commercial, launching this week, for the Discovery Channel's HowStuffWorks website. Aaron has Spina Bifida and is the first person to perform a backflip in a wheelchair.
This latest work follows an initial campaign for the site which featured a scuba diving cat.
At 72 Croisette (the so-called Gutter Bar) last night, Shannon Stephaniuk introduced me to the members of Ogilvy Stockholm, which won a Gold Lion for its work for UNA Sweden.
Their objective was to raise funds to support the war victims of Georgia (the country, not the state); and to do this, they spoke with the locals and gathered small, specific and personal items that belonged to people affected by the war.
See Shoes, Sweater and Sheet; I found the sight of those scorched, warped items physically painful, and the stories still more moving.
It's my strong feeling that the work deserved a Grand Prix, but apparently you can't win one if the effort is nonprofit. Weird logics. In any case, I hung out awhile and talked to the guys about the work, what they did and how it made them feel in general.
Video interviews below. Given that it's the Gutter Bar at 2:00 AM and not, say, an Embassy lobby, try to bear with the background noise. Better yet, imagine you're there, stumbling around with your third vodka tonic, playing guess-the-accent with your group of chums-for-the-week.
We hate Box Tops. We hate the mess they make when family members collect thousands of them to raise money for various educational causes. OK, so we really don't hate Box Tops but we do hate the process one must go through just to see their benefit. It's like coupons and Sunday circulars. Why create and print all that crap when you could just give the discount/donation anyway? Oh, we know. It's becasue you really don't want to give things away so you make it really hard for people to take advantage of what you're sort of offering.
Despite this opinion, enough people have clipped enough Box Tops to raise $300 million for schools. So that's not a bad thing. They've even made a little video to celebrate.
We still hate the mess they make though.
We could use a little Scientology right now. After all, according to the church's new commercial, "you are not your name, you're not your job, you're not the clothes you wear or the neighborhood you live in. You're not your fears, your failures or your past."
And there's more. "You are hope. You are imagination. You are the power to change, to create and to grow. You are a spirit that will never die. And no matter how beaten down, you will rise again."
Wouldn't it be nice to cast off the irrelevant, supposedly unimportant, aspects of your life - all that heavy baggage that drags you down - and just start over anew with hope, imagination and "the power to change." The only problem? You can't simply cast those things off because they are part of you and they do define you. They are your history. They are your personality. They are you.
First ad I saw upon entering the Palais. Where better than a sweltering, decadent vacation spot to remind us of the dire consequences of climate change?
Somewhat less depressing than the wrist slitter cause ad that appeared on BART trains during New Years Eve '06.