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:

 

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The FDA Gets Fresh

You may have seen them, commercials which features videos with dancers, DJs, beat-boxers and rappers expressing their disdain for smoking. Turns out, the effort is an attempt from the FDA  to harness hip-hop sounds, style and swagger to reach black, Hispanic and other minority teens — who disproportionately suffer the consequences of nicotine.

The campaign is called, “Fresh Empire.”

The ads first aired nationally in conjunction with the BET Hip-Hop Awards last fall. The campaign has also targeted hip-hop fans at concerts and other events, like the Hot 107.9 Birthday Bash in Atlanta and SneakerCon in the San Francisco Bay Area.

Check out the ad and full story on NPR below. I like this idea, btw.

Notorious FDA? Feds Turn To Hip-Hop To Tamp Down Teen Smoking.

 

Starbucks says, “You Have a Choice.”

Latte or Flat-White? Starbucks says there’s more to it than that.

The latest ad campaign from Starbucks is another departure from selling coffee, as the chain aims to promote civility following a plea for change in America from its top executive.

The first of a two-page print ad that ran last Thursday features opposing ideas, set against each other in black and white.

During the company’s annual meeting Wednesday, Chairman and CEO Howard Schultz said he struggled to find the right words about “the pain I feel about where America is headed and the cloud hanging over the American people.”

The ad ran in Thursday’s editions of The New York Times and The Wall Street Journal. It can also be seen on the company’s website, where a video that runs about seven minutes shows Mr. Schultz’s comments.

What will you choose?

choice

 

Starbucks Pushes Baristas to Vote

The Race for the White House has thus far been quite interesting. I will just say, please be sure to get out and vote. If you work for Starbucks, you’ve likely heard this message from your boss in the past week or so.

Coffee company Starbucks is urging its American employees to register to vote, chairman and CEO Howard Schultz wrote in a letter on Monday.

“For decades we’ve created meaningful connections with our customers and served communities. We’re about to answer these questions once again by addressing a problem that many partners have identified as extremely important: increasing voter registration and participation across America.”

The company will be using TurboVote to make it easy for all U.S. employees to register to vote from both computers and mobile devices. Schultz said that he got the idea from a February forum with employees in Brooklyn when he asked what the company could do to emphasize citizenship.

There were even rumors last year that Schultz was considering a campaign for the White House himself, which he shut down with an August op-ed in the New York Times. However, that doesn’t mean that the CEO is loving the current batch of presidential candidates. Last month, Schultz said that the US presidential election has turned into a “circus” and he has “grave concern” about the country’s future.

This is not the first time Starbucks has promoted voting; they gave customers who said they voted on Election Day in 2008 a free cup of coffee. Here’s a flashback:

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:

 

Nas Lends a Hand (and Diversity) to Tech

A new fund is being created by General Assembly, a private New York City technical school, which has the goal of addressing the lack of minority representation in the tech sphere. Dubbed,”The Opportunity Fund,” it will offer scholarships to women, veterans, African-Americans, and Latinos, all groups who have historically and systematically been denied equal access to the sciences. Nas, who has stepped up his involvement in the tech world in recent months, is joining Google, Microsoft, and Hirepurpose as one of the fund’s backers.

Nas’ QueensBridge Venture Partners project will provide the funds for scholarships to African-Americans and Latinos, while Google will fund women and Microsoft and Hirepurpose will pay for veterans to attend the school.

The New York rapper, with several platinum albums and Grammy nominations under his belt, is gaining cred as a tech investor. QueensBridge Venture Partners has backed start-ups from Dropbox to Meerkat to Lyft. The firm is also backs Walker & Co Brands, of which I am a fan. Here’s more about that company:

 

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: