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:

Buy a Lady a Drink.

to launch an eye-catching campaign to halt one of the most onerous tasks faced by women in developing nations: the hours-long daily route of hauling water, usually by foot, over long distances.

Obtaining water is a real issue – here in the US and worldwide. The statistics don’t lie: at least 760 million people lack access to safe, secure and clean water. Women and children spend about 140 million hours a day collecting water. And while mobile technology has opened more economic doors, one disturbing fact is that more people worldwide own a cell phone than own a toilet. Stella Artois’ campaign, which enlists Water.org’s founders Matt Damon and Gary White, is a step in raising awareness about this massive problem.

The campaign started with Stella Artois donating $1.2 million to the cause. The company is raising additional funds through the sales of artistic limited-edition beer glasses. Water.org says the purchase of one glass, at $12, is enough to provide one person clean drinking water for five years. As of now the 20,000 put up for sale in the U.S. have completely sold out.

Water.org already has a strong track record of providing market-based solutions to the lack of clean water worldwide. The NGO has focused on microfinance programs that lend assistance to projects such as building private toilets to gaining access to municipal water taps. As of last fall, Water.org has invested US$10.6 million in almost 450,000 loans across nine countries. Considering the fact water scarcity is one of the biggest threats to global economic and political stability, more efforts such as this Stella Artois-Water.org partnership need to be supported.

Check out one of several videos which highlight what women and children endure in securing water for their daily needs below:

 

Ad Love: Colgate’s Every Drop Counts.

Most of us take running water for granted. Colgate wants you to stop it. Stop it now, dammit.

Recently, the brand released the full 30-second spot which will air on Superbowl Sunday, February 7. You won’t find any Colgate products in the ad. Instead, the spot discusses a larger issue—the importance of saving water.

The commercial opens on a man leaving the faucet running as he brushes his teeth. It then notes that when we leave the tap on, even if only for a short period of time, we waste up to four gallons of water each time. The spot tells viewers that four gallons of wasted water is more than some people get in one week.

The campaign uses the hashtag #EveryDropCounts, and asks viewers to use the hashtag as a way to signify their pledge to conserve water when they brush.

Take a look:

Viola Davis and the Vaseline Healing Project

I don’t know about you, but one of the things which irks me most is having dry hands, lips or legs and not having anything to help the matter. There have been times when I’ve left the house, gotten to the train and looked down at my ankles and realized that I neglected to lotion them or my lips are super-dry and I reach into my purse to find that my lip-balm was left at home. The horror is so deep that I will head to the nearest CVS to purchase replacements. Not having these items for a day is uncomfortable. I can’t imagine what it must be like to live without them.

It turns out that for some, not having emollients such as Vaseline is, in fact, a matter of life or death.

In 2014, Samer Jaber and Grace Bandow, both doctors, returned from the Zaatari refugee camp in Jordan, where tens of thousands of displaced Syrians have settled after escaping merciless violence in their war-torn country, and wrote a joint essay about their experience. In the article,  they revealed that countless refugees they treated needed relief from severe skin problems that could be remedied by simply applying Vaseline.

Vaseline publicly launched an initiative with Direct Relief, an international medical aid organization, to get petroleum jellies and lotions to people displaced by natural disasters or humanitarian crises. Their goal is to heal the skin of 5 million people by 2020.

The brand has already donated 1 million jars of its product worldwide through Direct Relief in 2015 and sponsored dermatological missions to Kenya, the Philippines and Jordan last year. This year, the company plans to return to Jordan, as well as India, Nepal and South Africa.

As part of its Vaseline Healing Project, the company is also putting together virtual relief kits to supplement its jelly and lotion donations. Anyone can contribute to pay for pre-selected items to fill the kits with other modest medical supplies such as thermometers, emergency blankets, soap and gauze.

Vaseline also has implemented a year-long, one-for-one promotion. For every jar of Vaseline jelly or lotion sold, the company will donate two cents, up to a $1 million, to the project.

The brand has also tapped award-winning actress Viola Davis as the spokesperson for the campaign. Check it out:

Ad Love: A Not So Joyous Holiday

The holiday season usually brings forth images of lights, smiles and abundant holiday cheer. Rarely would one consider the reality of domestic violence.

“The Window Project,” which, from Dec. 6-13, appears in the window of the Untitled & Co. store in Toronto’s Fashion District. The project was made for the Ontario Association of Interval & Transition Houses (OAITH), in partnership with the Yellow Brick House.

From a distance, the display looks l, “normal.” A family sits at table in Christmas sweaters, surrounded by  decorations. Moments in, the man’s hand flips upward in a disturbingly recognizable gesture; the woman’s upper body reflexively pulls back.

Levels of domestic abuse and suicide spike dramatically over the holiday season, the video claims. Per Yellow Brick House, transitional shelters see a 30 percent average rise in support calls. Window shoppers can stop the abuse, halting the display for 60 seconds at a time, by texting a donation of $5 to OAITH. This money will fund support for women and families impacted in Canada.

This is an excellent idea. All to often we focus on only holiday cheer. While I love a big cup of cheer and will have a few rounds with the best of them, it’s important to take a look at the reason for the season beyond the superficial.

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’s Up With September 26th?

It’s a damn shame that in a few days we will hit October 1st. Time is flying! For now, it seems like people, namely celebrities and some cause marketing fashionistas, are holding on to what remains of the year by way of 9.26.15.

First up: Beyoncé, Coldplay, Pearl Jam will headline the 2015 Global Citizen Festival in NY. Coldplay Front-man, Chris Martin, serves as creative director for the event and is fresh from his visit to India with The Global Poverty Project, where he played a surprise gig last week. The festival will take place on New York’s Great Lawn in Central Park tomorrow. There will also be an one-hour special from the concert set to air on Sunday, September 27 on NBC and September 28 on BBC One in the UK. Other media partners include MSNBC, live-streaming host YouTube (sponsored by T-Mobile), iHeartRadio (an audio live-stream will be broadcast on iHeartRadio.com) and Tidal, which will also stream the audio of the concert on Tidal.com as well as via the Tidal app. Free tickets were available for those who went to globalcitizenfestival.com, and pledged to take an “Action Journey” — which included making phone calls, volunteering, donating clothing at H&M or participating in another effort to encourage the U.S. State Department to dedicate 50% of its foreign aid budget to the world’s poorest countries.

The tickets are all “sold out” 😦

But you can catch the live-stream below 🙂

On a smaller scale (which is just as important), clothier Eileen Fisher will see to it that 10% of proceeds from 9.26.15 go to various local charities which support women and girls.

Eileen Fisher annually awards Activating Leadership Grants of $5,000 or more to grass-roots organizations which share its goals of activating leadership. To date, the company has awarded nearly $2 million to 56 organizations via the grant program since its inception in 2010. Brick and mortar stores also hosts special events twice a year where a percentage of proceeds are donated to a local nonprofit organization chosen by local employees. Those interested in becoming a recipient in that program simply contact the store directly. Learn more about the organizations that will be supported by clicking below.

September is ending rather nicely.

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McDonald’s Rallies for International Day of Peace.

Thanks to Burger King, you may (or may not) be aware that today is the United Nations’ annual International Day of Peace.

If you haven’t heard of the beef (pun intended), about one month ago, Burger King challenged McDonald’s to team up and create a “McWhopper,” a combination of the fast-food chains’ hamburgers, that would help raise money for Peace One Day. McDonald’s rebuffed the challenge in messages on Facebook and Twitter, but they would, “be in touch.”

#shadyfries.

What matters most is that McDonald’s has gathered a number of like-minded organizations to raise money to help the United Nations’ food program respond to the migrant crisis in Europe and the Middle East.

The company, along with companies like DreamWorks Animation, MasterCard and Facebook, will donate paid television airtime or access to digital media to promote the World Food Program, including through the use of a 30-second animated commercial narrated by the actor Liam Neeson.

The World Food Program is under increasing pressure to help respond to the millions of Syrians, Iraqis and others displaced from areas of conflict. Tens of thousands of migrants have fled to Europe, which has scrambled to respond to the influx. The World Food Program estimates that it will need more than $7 billion to deal with the various humanitarian crises this year, but expects to receive closer to $4 billion through its usual channels, which primarily include government aid.

In the new commercial, Mr. Neeson tells viewers that wars around the world have resulted in more refugees now than any time since World War II.

Check out the spot, which is pretty powerful, below.

A New Day for Apple and Philanthropy.

Apple is notorious for leading the way when it comes to innovation. They are also notorious for not being overly generous when it comes to giving when compared to how much money the company pulls in. That is, until now.

Yesterday, the widow of Steve Jobs, Laurencallingideas_proxy Powell Jobs announced that she will starting a $50 million to create high schools with new approaches to education. According to an interview published in the New York Times, Ms. Powell Jobs says, “The system was created for the work force we needed 100 years ago.Things are not working the way we want it to be working. We’ve seen a lot of incremental changes over the last several years, but we’re saying, ‘Start from scratch.’ ”

The initiative is called XQ: The Super School Project and the campaign is meant to inspire teams of educators and students, as well as leaders from other sectors, to come up with new plans for high schools. Over the next several months, the teams will submit plans that could include efforts like altering school schedules, curriculum and technologies. By fall next year a team of judges will pick five to 10 of the best ideas to finance.

The XQ project is the highest-profile project yet of the Emerson Collective, the group that Ms. Powell Jobs uses to finance her philanthropic projects.

Ms. Powell Jobs said that while she was committed to ensuring that the new schools are public, she was unsure whether they would be charter schools. She pointed out that she, like most Americans, is a graduate of a public high school. Plans for a national tour to collect ideas for the project do not include a stop at her alma mater in New Jersey, West Milford High School.

Learn more here.