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Sheboard – Raised by words

basics
Industry: Internet sites & Services
Media:Cyber
Market:Finland
Style: Minimalism
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descriptioncnen
Synopsis
Plan International is a humanitarian organisation that works for girls’ rights. They’ve been more known for their work in developing countries, but they work globally for lasting impact on norms, attitudes and behaviours towards girls. We needed to make people see Plan as a global, modern organisation that advances equality for girls everywhere. Research shows that we talk differently to children depending on their gender. We talk to boys about their abilities, skills and potential and to girls about their bodies and feelings. Little by little, this starts to influence how they see themselves. A study shows that by the age of six, girls are more likely to think that boys are the smarter gender; many girls believe that men will do better in fields associated with brilliance – such as physics and mathematics.
Strategy
As our goal is to change behavior – how people talk to and about girls and women, we’d needed people to rethink their own behavior, and their own use of language – that’s why we created something everyone is using everyday: Sheboard. The target audience are all of us: Parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, sons and daughters. We wanted to make people see that Plan International does not only work in developing countries, but also advances equality for girls globally. Sheboard is relevant in any country, any language – and it also gained media attention all over the world, from rather equal ones to those where girls’ rights are neglected. It was predictable Sheboard would raise also negative feelings – as equality discussions often do. That’s why we had a strong focus on the scientific side; the gender-biased language and its effects are a proven fact.
Relevancy
Gender-biased talk is a global problem – and Plan International is a global organization. Yet, money is scarce and behaviour change is difficult to achieve. That’s why PR played a vital role in making people re-think their behaviour, and the only way to reach a global and diverse audience.
Outcome
Sheboard got media attention all over the world, both in advanced, relatively equal countries and in those where girls’ rights are neglected; from Finland to Turkey, from Australia to India. The editorial reach was over 712 Million. Sheboard was covered e.g. by UK national press (Evening Standard), international business press (Business Insider), top tier tech press (the Next Web); noted by educational and sexual health related communities; and chosen as innovation of the day by Trendwatching. Social publisher NowThis created a video about Sheboard which alone got hundreds of shares and comments. Many of the journalists tested the app and dug deep into the research. “Sheboard raises an interesting question: if we change our use of language regarding young girls into one that emphasizes strength and capacity, will it change the way they think about themselves?” wrote the Next Web. But it’s not enough we made people read about it. The change starts from ourselves – we needed to make everyone reflect their own language and possibly change how they speak. And we did; a lot of people joined the discussion and told their own experiences and thoughts about Sheboard and gender-neutral language. For and against; some loved it, some declared it’s dangerous. A dad from Newport tweeted: “Just reading about #sheboard virtual keyboard has made me rethink how I talk to my daughter - even if she is just 3 months old”.
Execution
We collected words for the keyboard from children and campaign spokespeople: how should girls be described? Based on these words and research regarding gender-biased language, we created a dictionary of more than 2 500 words. It was widened by creating algorithms from female-empowering blogs and publications. The app was created together with Samsung – in a few months’ time – and made available in Google Play. We launched Sheboard in Slush, world’s leading startup event. On social media, we promoted it with emotional spots showing why it’s needed – directed by an up-and-coming female talent. We also used the spokespeople to share the cause via social media and blogs. All this, we did with a strong focus on PR. Now Sheboard is in the process of being translated e.g. to Spanish and Finnish. In addition, educational packages are planned; volunteers will keep workshops about gender-neutrality in schools,with help of Sheboard.
CampaignDescription
Sheboard is a virtual keyboard for boosting girls’ confidence. With predictive text input, it suggests gender-neutral language. It helps everyone reflect on – and possibly change – the ways we talk to and about girls. Sheboard also reminds girls about the abilities they have that people don’t always think to mention. The amount of communication that happens on our mobiles keeps growing. That’s why the keyboard is an ideal place for tapping into people’s language. But the idea is bigger than that; typing messages is something everyone can relate to, and just hearing about the keyboard makes people think how they choose their words when talking with or about girls.
awards
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2018
Bronze PR
Digital & Social > Mobile & Apps
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