Ad Love: Sign Their Yearbook

Right now, young people are busy with all of the fun and festive formalities that come with the close of a school year: class rings, proms and signing yearbooks. Some may never get to experience any of these things as their lives were taken too soon at the hands of gun violence. That’s the focus of, “Sign Their Yearbook,” a sobering initiative from New Yorkers Against Gun Violence.

The online “yearbook,” which went live last week, also serves as a petition; those signing signal their support for universal criminal background checks for people attempting to purchase firearms. (In 38 states, it is legal to buy guns without submitting to such scrutiny.) After 30 days, the petition—in the form of a handsomely printed physical yearbook—will be submitted to the U.S. Senate, where measures to tighten gun laws have previously failed.

This campaign is brilliant. Check out the ad, which gave me chills and be sure to sign the book:

 

The Dress that Knew Too Much

There was a lot going on at this year’s Met Gala. All I will say is, Madonna.

The star-studded event, which is an annual fundraising gala for the benefit of the Metropolitan Museum of Art’s Costume Institute in NYC, marks the grand opening of the Costume Institute’s annual fashion exhibit. This year’s theme was, “Manus X Machina: Fashion in an Age of Technology.” Celebs did not disappoint. One of the best dressed was model, Karolina Kurova who wore the most high-tech outfit of the night.

IBM and fashion designer Marchesa  unveiled a, “cognitive dress,” extending IBM’s cognitive computing branding campaign. The data-driven dress — changed colors based on an analysis of fan sentiment in real time. During the gala, Watson processed the huge volume of tweets surrounding the event, and changed the color of the dress according to the emotions in them. Rose signified joy, coral meant passion, aqua was excitement, lavender denoted curiosity, and butter indicated encouragement.

IBM views Watson as its future, and indeed, the future of artificial intelligence. It’s a cognitive system that reasons and learns much like a human, and is capable of turning the world’s vast oceans of data into usable information.

The dress was a stunner. Check it out:

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NYPD Uses Mannequins to Try and Find Missing Boy

The New York Police Department and BBDO New York are taking the search for missing persons beyond the milk carton. In a project called “Invisible Faces,” the face of a boy who disappeared six years ago will now appear on a store window mannequin in an effort to reinvigorate the search and possibly lead to his return. Agency BBDO created the concept, and worked with the NYPD to execute it. Patrick_3x2_

Seven-year-old Patrick Alford Jr. went missing from his foster home in 2010; his face, aged to 13 years old, has been sculpted onto a mannequin in the store window of jacket brand K-Way, which has a store located in SoHo, one of Manhattan’s most well-trafficked shopping neighborhoods. The mannequin is clothed in a similar red t-shirt to the one Patrick was wearing when he disappeared.

If any passersby or store visitors recognize Patrick’s likeness, they are encouraged to use an in-store iPad to learn more. The agency has also put together the website www.invisiblefaces.info and the hashtag #bringPatrickhome to spread the word.

The store window will remain up until the middle of May.

 

Ad Love: CVS and #BetheFirst

Drugstore giant CVS Health and its foundation plan to spend $50 million over five years to bolster anti-smoking efforts with a particular emphasis on young people.

The company recently announced plans to fund Be The First, a campaign that draws its colloquial inspiration from a goal to form the first generation of Americans to spurn tobacco.

The push comes more than a year after CVS stopped selling cigarettes, saying that smoking conflicts with its mission of promoting healthy living. CVS and the CVSHealth Foundation will share the costs of the campaign. Be The First will emphasize education programs, social media and marketing initiatives through groups such as the Campaign for Tobacco-Free Kids, Scholastic Inc., the American Cancer Society and the National Urban League.

Cigarettes and secondhand smoke cause cancer and other preventable diseases.

CVS set several concrete goals for the five-year campaign: cutting the national youth smoking rate by 3%, reducing the number of new youth smokers by 10% and doubling the number of college campuses that ban tobacco usage.

Check it out:

Some Airlines Actually Care.

You’ve seen me banter back and forth with airline carrier Jet Blue. Part of the reason I use them is because they have a great customer service and social customer care acumen.

Recently, GetAirHelp, a legal service that seeks compensation for passengers when a flight has been canceled or delayed, released a survey ranking 34 airlines, not only on performance and delays, but on whether — and how quickly — those airlines are willing to settle up with passengers seeking compensation.

The highest ratings go to Qatar Airways and KLM, while easyJet and SATA International (a Portuguese airline) bring up the rear, according to AirHelp’s survey. The three American companies that were ranked fall solidly in the middle, with Delta leading the way, followed by United and American.

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To use AirHelp’s service, fliers enter the details of a delayed or canceled flight online and AirHelp initiates a claim with the airline.

To date, the business says it has helped nearly 350,000 people file claims and collect more than $33 million in compensation. Along the way, the service has amassed vast amounts of data, which informed the latest survey. The survey ranked the airlines on the following:

• Quality performance, using the scores of Skytrax, an international research organization that publishes independent reviews and ratings of airlines.

• Delay performance, based on departure times in the fourth quarter of 2015.

• Claim processing, using data based on how an airline handles and processes claims, including wrongful rejection of claims.

Here are the 10 top-ranking airlines and their AirHelp scores. I wonder why Jet Blue didn’t make the cut?:

1. Qatar Airways, 8.9
2. KLM, 8.5
3. Air Baltic, 8.2
4. Air France, 8.2
5. Lufthansa, 8.2
6. Air Canada, 8
7. Emirates, 7.9
8. Croatia Airlines, 7.9
9. British Airways, 7.8
10. Finnair, 7.8

Here are the American rankings:

15. Delta, 7.6
20. United, 7.4
21. American, 7.35

Here are the bottom 10:

25. Norwegian Air Shuttle, 7.1
26. Icelandair, 7
27. Alitalia, 7
28. Iberia, 7
29. Aer Lingus, 6.8
30. TAP Portugal, 6.8
31. Swiss, 6.4
32. Virgin Atlantic, 6.2
33. easyJet, 5.8
34. SATA International, 5.2

Ad Love: #LikeaGirl

I’ve already expressed my undying love for emojis. The Kim Kardashian ones will always take favor with me and I almost feel guilty mentioning them in this post. There are some folks who are taking a long, hard look at the ‘girl’ emojis and expressing they are, in fact, too girly. Enter, P&G company, Always and #LikeaGirl.

Always’ “Like a Girl” campaign, which points out in a new ad that the images of women in the standard Unicode emoji set are stereotypical. Beyond the neutral female emoji, there’s a princess, a bride, a pair of twins, a dancer in a red dress and a series of “information desk” characters. Male emoji characters, meanwhile, include Santa Claus, a policeman, a guardsman, a detective, a construction worker and an angel.

For the new “Like a Girl” spot,  girls were interviewed and asked how they feel about the current emoji choices.Emoji images are particularly important, Always says, because they are used so much by young, impressionable people.  At the end of the ad, the brand asks: “What girl emoji do you want? Tell us with #LikeAGirl.”

 Check it out:

Hip Hop Unites for Flint Water Crisis.

Someone, please tell me how the most developed country in the world can have a widespread water contamination issue?  A state of emergency has been declared in Flint to alleviate the city’s lead contaminated water crisis, the Detroit Free Press reports. President Barack Obama’s response releases up to $5 million and authorizes the Federal Emergency Management Agency to coordinate relief efforts. This action will cover 75 percent of the costs for providing clean water, filters and other items to residents.

This is infuriating. Thank God, individuals are lending a hand to alleviate the crisis. This week, Hip Hop got involved.

Rapper Meek Mill  has stepped up to the plate to help out residents in Flint as they deal with the current widely reported water crisis. The rapper responded to a tweet that basically told him and 50 Cent to cease with a petty back and forth social media beef and help residents. Mill did just that. The rapper stated on Instagram that he’s giving $50,000 to Flint to help its residents. Mill also challenged 50 Cent to do the same.

Other rappers, such as Sean Combs and Big Sean, also took to social media to rally entertainers to help with Flint’s water crisis. And beyond rappers helping, last week Cher donated 180,000 bottles of water to the city.

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The president rejected Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder’s appeal for a disaster declaration, which would have allocated more federal funds and resources. Under federal law, only catastrophes caused by natural disasters are eligible for a disaster declaration, compared to the lower-level federal emergency declaration.

Unlike a disaster caused by a hurricane, Flint’s water emergency is man-made. In 2014, officials switched the city’s water source from Lake Huron to the Flint River to save money. The more polluted river water, treated at the Flint water treatment plant, turned out to be corrosive to the city’s pipes and caused toxic levels of lead to seep into drinking water. Meanwhile, the governor is under pressure to resign over what has become a scandal. Critics say that state officials knew for months that the water supply was unsafe before Snyder declared a state of emergency and sought help from Washington.

Help the people of Flint. Here’s an excellent article which outlines a number of ways how you can do that.

Thanks for Being Kind.

Kind bars are yummy – there’s no doubt about that. What makes them even yummy-er is that they are tied to acts of being a good person.

Since 2013, every employee at Kind has taken part in a, “secret initiative.” If they spotted a random act of kindness—like a stranger holding the door to a coffee shop, or sharing directions on the subway—they could hand out a little black card. It acknowledged the little moment of humanity, and as a gift, the card was good for a free Kind bar.

As of last week, #kindawesome cards were handed out to anyone by anyone in the world. The system relies on a new digital platform. You spot an act of kindness, then you head to howkindofyou.com. From there, you can send a virtual card via Facebook, email, or Twitter.

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Once redeemed, the good samaritan is mailed both a Kind snack and his or her own, digital #kindawesome card to pass along. The design of the cards copy Kind’s black and four-color packaging. Previously, Kind cards had a pay it forward mandate—”You’ve Been Kinded, Pass It On”—with the expectation that, once you received a card, you’d then do a kind act for someone else. Now, the cards have been rebranded as a reward, instead.

Check out this video for more:

 

 

 

 

New Emojis Combat Bullying.

The worse part about using a BlackBerry has to be the fact that I’m limited when it comes to emojis – IJS.

While everyone is excited for the possibilities of being able to express themselves using slices of bacon, eggplants and middle fingers, I’m limited to smiley faces. So, as you can imagine, with Apple’s latest release, an emoji for good, I’m pissed!

‎Recently, Apple released an emoji which could make a huge difference in the lives of bullied children and teens. The symbol is meant to help bystanders and victims, via social social media and text message, call out cruel comments and harassment, and support those who are bullied.

While the emoji will live on the iPhone keyboard, it’s the centerpiece of an anti-bullying initiative called I Am A Witness and launched by the Ad Council.

I Am A Witness was created in partnership with Johnson & Johnson, Apple, Google, Facebook, Adobe and Twitter. Some of these tech companies have been criticized for not providing their users with the means to adequately stop or report online harassment. This campaign offers another approach to the problem, something both companies and users can get behind.

The Ad Council tested the emoji with teens this year, hoping it might empower them to confront bullying behavior and comfort victims.

This is pretty damn awesome. Maybe I’ll get rid of my BlackBerry. For now, check out the spots which the Ad Council put out for the emoji launch.

What I’m Doing Tomorrow.

I am super excited to kick off my weekend by giving back.

Tomorrow, I’m leading a workshop focused on social and digital media at the 2015 Careers in Media Day which is being presented by New York Women in Communications Foundation. This event will be attended by 9th-12th grade teen girls who are interested in exploring or pursuing careers in communications, media and technology.  The keynote speaker will be Emmy Award-winning TV journalist for ABC News and an anchor of Nightline, Juju Chang

If you know a teen girl who could benefit from this experience, sign them up – registration is still open! For more details go here. 

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