Twitch, Ad Council and Others Partner to Bring Suicide Awareness Livestreams

The Ad Council is partnering with game streaming platform Twitch to offer livestreams in support of the Seize the Awkward campaign, which encourages young people to speak out about mental health.

The Seize the Awkward campaign encourages teens and young adults to have difficult conversations about mental health by prompting them to reach out to friends or peers who may be at risk for suicide.

From Sept. 18 to 20, Twitch streamers Achievement Hunter, MissKyliee, Natalie “ZombiUnicorn” Casanova,” negaoryx, OMGitsfirefoxx, schviftyFive, and others will hold charity fundraising streams on their Twitch channels and will encourage donations for the Seize the Awkward campaign.

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Square Enix will also host a livestream of “Life is Strange: Before the Storm” featuring voice actors Rhianna DeVries (Chloe), Kylie Brown (Rachel), and Katy Benz (Steph) from the game on the stream. The episodic game deals with adolescent friendships, mental health, and social issues, making it an ideal title to stream for the conversations taking place around the campaign.

September is Suicide Prevention Awareness Month, and as the common start of the back to school season it is notably “characterized by transition as young adults return to school or depart for college for the first time, making the Seize the Awkward message of checking in with a friend especially timely and relevant,” according to the press release.

Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council commented on the Twitch partnership as well as the other Seize the Awkward campaign movements with other digital partners like Reddit, Shine, and Tumblr.

“This extraordinary group of leading digital, social and experiential partners will give us the opportunity to reach teens and young adults where they are at a time when they may need to hear this critical message most,” said Sherman. “Each of our September activations offers a unique opportunity to authentically connect with young adults and provide the necessary resources to start important and potentially life-saving conversations.”

 

Rihanna Calls for Universal Education

Rihanna has written an op-ed for The Guardian to ask others to join her in the fight for universal education.

“The lack of access to education for children around the world is a massive problem, but that does not mean we should throw up our hands in despair and surrender,” Rihanna said in the piece.  “Instead, we need to take on as much of the challenge as we can manage to set an example and see the difference. This is what has driven me to prioritize global education in my philanthropy and advocacy work.”

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While growing up in Barbados, Rihanna added, she now realizes she took her access to education for granted. In many parts of the world, children are prevented from that same access due to poverty, politics, war, sexism, and more. To help make these inequalities a thing of the past, Rihanna has renewed her call for support for the Global Partnership for Education (GPE) and their efforts toward fighting the education deficit around the world.

“We are grateful for the generous contributions of those such as the EU and France, and countries that doubled their contributions such as Canada and Ireland,” she said of her GPE ambassador role and this year’s GPE financing conference. “I look forward to seeing additional contributions from countries I know can step up even more, such as Germany and Japan, and seeing those that didn’t contribute – the Netherlands, Finland and New Zealand add their support to help us reach our target.”

Rihanna also discussed her own Clara Lionel Foundation and called on readers to join her in hitting up world leaders and politicians on Twitter and elsewhere to share the message.

Uber’s Brand Refresh

Uber has spent the past year trying to convince customers that it has put its problematic reputation in the past. And what better way to usher in a new era than with a complete rebrand?

Uber has unveiled an entirely new look that will eventually feature a fresh, custom-made typeface, new colors, a redesigned in-app look including animations and more.

The company says this rebrand reflects Uber’s transition from “San Francisco startup to a global company,” particularly one that’s become a “platform of mobility.”

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The company is doing away with the symbol that’s been featured on its app icon for the past two years. Through the aforementioned internal research, the team discovered that most consumers don’t actually associate the symbol with Uber, and that drivers would even turn around the decal that featured it to the other side, which read “Uber,” so passengers could have an easier time recognizing their cars.

Uber found its strength in three things: Its name, the U and the color black. So in creating a new logo, they leaned into those features.

That new logo is a simple wordmark that (naturally) reads “Uber,” with a capital U, in Uber Move, a typeface that was custom-designed for the brand. Previously they’d been using Clan Pro font, which, though they licensed it, they still had to share with other brands that did the same.

In terms of color, Uber is zeroing in on black and white in its new branding. However, there are several secondary colors, all of which take inspiration from transportation, and feature bold-but-soft hues of purple, green, red, yellow, orange and brown. A bright shade of blue is the “safety color,” inspired by the associations of blue with security in everyday life: The United Nations, for example, as well as the blue safety lights that are omnipresent on college campuses. This blue will feature more heavily in the app, as an accent color.

The hope is that this rebranding will make Uber’s presence is a bit clearer to riders, drivers and potential customers. Uber’s No.1 imperative in the redesign is “seeing Uber and knowing Uber,”

Kaepernick Campaign Created $43 Million in Nike Buzz

The controversy surrounding Nike Inc.’s new Colin Kaepernick ad is a surprise to no one. And in spite of the backlash, it’s probably pretty good for the brand. In less than 24 hours since Kaepernick first revealed the spot on Twitter, Nike received more than $43 million worth of media exposure, the vast majority of it neutral to positive, according to Apex Marketing Group. That far outweighs the risk of alienating some customers, said Bob Dorfman, a sports marketing executive at Baker Street Advertising.

The campaign is just the first step in Nike’s new partnership with Kaepernick, an extension of a deal he’s had with the company since he entered the NFL in 2011. The ad features his face along with the slogan, “Believe in something. Even if it means sacrificing everything.” Kaepernick hasn’t been on a roster since 2016, after he started kneeling for the national anthem to protest racism and police brutality in the U.S.

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The company also knows its customers. Two-thirds are younger than 35, and it’s an ethnically diverse consumer base, according to NPD Group.

As part of the new campaign, the company plans to release a Kaepernick-inspired shoe and t-shirt and will donate money to the quarterback’s “Know Your Rights” educational campaign, according to the New York Times.

The quarterback is currently suing the league, accusing its owners of colluding to keep him out of the league. Last week an arbitrator said Kaepernick had enough evidence to take the suit to trial.

The NFL has responded by saying it is committed to “dialogue, understanding and unity.”

“The social justice issues that Colin and other professional athletes have raised deserve our attention and action,” the league said in a statement.

This Is You At The US Open, Serena

Have you ever wanted to see how a young Serena Williams played tennis? Spoiler alert: She was remarkable even then and Nike has the footage to prove it.

A new Nike advertisement shows Williams taking to the tennis court, long before became an international tennis champion. She was nine years old in the footage, according to ESPN reporter Darren Rovell.

Williams’ father, Richard Williams, provides the voice-over, encouraging his daughter to be her best.

“This is you at the U.S. Open,” Richard says to his young, focused daughter as she bounces a tennis ball on a court in a home movie. When young Serena hits the ball, the video cuts to footage of the player at various years of the U.S. Open that she competed in.

The rest is enough to make your eyes sweat.

Levi Strauss teams up with gun control group

Levi Strauss & Co. has announced it is launching a series of new initiatives to benefit groups working to prevent gun violence.

Levi Strauss’s CEO and President Chip Bergh wrote in Fortune on Tuesday that the company “simply cannot stand by silently when it comes to issues that threaten the very fabric of the communities where we live and work.”

“You may wonder why a company that doesn’t manufacture or sell guns is wading into this issue, but for us, it’s simple,” Bergh wrote. “Americans shouldn’t have to live in fear of gun violence. It’s an issue that affects all of us — all generations and all walks of life.”

He added that he is not advocating to repeal the 2nd Amendment nor calling gun owners irresponsible.

“We can’t insulate ourselves from every threat,” Bergh wrote. “We can’t ‘harden’ every place we gather — whether it be our schools, workplaces, shops, churches, or entertainment venues. But we can take common-sense, measurable steps — like criminal background checks on all gun sales — that will save lives.”

Levi’s, therefore, announced a new three-tiered initiative to support gun violence prevention.

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The company will donate more than $1 million over the next four years to nonprofits and youth activists that work to end gun violence, establishing the “Safer Tomorrow Fund.”

The blue jean manufacturer also partnered with gun control group Everytown for Gun Safety and other executives to form Everytown Business Leaders for Gun Safety.

Bergh called the group a coalition of business leaders who “believe, as we do, that business has a critical role to play in and a moral obligation to do something about the gun violence epidemic in this country.”

Levi’s will also double all donations made by their employees to the Safer Tomorrow Fund.

Bergh acknowledged that the decision to advocate for gun control is a controversial one.

“While taking a stand can be unpopular with some, doing nothing is no longer an option,” he wrote.