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Unboxing the Truth

Unboxing the Truth | Thomson Reuters | TBWA
Download Download JPG | 3530x2502px
Industry: Electronics & Audio-Visual
Style: Minimalism

Today there are 40 million slaves worldwide. Hidden deep within supply chains, slavery has been impossible for consumers to see. Thomson Reuters Foundation is a leader in combating slavery — providing companies a program which identifies slavery in their production processes — but needed to generate a groundswell among consumers to really make an impact.

The objective was to raise awareness of and generate conversation among millennial consumers about forced labor in products’ supply chains, making them rethink their purchasing habits without shaming companies. Success would be measured by:

- organic views on YouTube and other social channels, without paid support
- organic PR coverage
- uplift in social conversation about forced labor
- unique visits to the Foundation website

Budget: ~$55k
Media budget: $0

The unboxings were released via social media through Thomson Reuters Foundation channels and influencers via YouTube, Facebook, Twitter and Instagram (~10 posts on each product).

Describe the creative idea (40% of vote)

The Thomson Reuters Foundation promotes socioeconomic progress worldwide and report on the world’s most underreported news stories.

The Foundation has a technology to detect slavery in company supply chains. But slavery today is worse than at any other time in history. It’s hidden within supply chains of everything we buy today.

In an age when governments and legislation struggle to keep up with the speed of societal change, corporate activism has never been more critical. We needed to create a groundswell among our target, millennial consumers. Despite activism culture, there are <400k posts about forced labor over the past three years.

We created three products usually manufactured in slavery-prevalent industries (but we did it ethically and from scratch): shoes (fashion), makeup (beauty), and headphones (tech). We sent them, complete with hidden messages, to top influencers so they could unbox the truth.

Describe the execution (40% of vote)

We created three products manufactured in slavery-prevalent industries — ethically and from scratch — and embedded facts about slavery in the design, in this way symbolizing the way slavery is hidden in supply chains.

The custom sneaker utilized elements that dramatize today’s sweatshops. Its one-of-a-kind makeup told the story of illegally mined mica, and included actual mica. The headphones, when worn, played a recording of a former slave talking about inhumane mine conditions.

Every detail was crafted to tell a story as the products were unboxed, with photos, facts and firsthand accounts. You could only know the story by taking a closer look.

We sent them to top influencers (combined 2.5 million subscribers) to unbox. Unboxing is a phenomenon one in five people on YouTube are watching. The sneaker design gained so much press it was featured at an art gallery among 24 of the most iconic sneakers ever made.

List the results (20% of vote)

By releasing the sneaker during NBA finals, headphones during Cyber Monday, and makeup during holiday shopping, we ignited a global conversation.

- 16 million+ total media impressions
- 154% increase in traffic to the Foundation’s site
- 56% increased conversation on forced labor
- 33% increase in unboxer's completion rates
- $0 spent on media
- Front page of r/sneaker reddit

Jacques Slade’s video generated over 60 media articles, making it the most widely covered shoe drop of 2018. (Will Smith’s video of the new Jordan 5s came in second, generating only eight).

The unboxings received such global press coverage, the sneaker was featured alongside 24 of the most iconic sneakers ever made, in an art exhibit that included prolific artists such as Damien Hirst and Takashi Murakami.

Countless consumers committed on social to changing habits. Forbes wrote: “Slade spread a message at a pace and scale that is breathtaking.”
Production Company:
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Design
Promotional Item Design
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2019
Shortlist Design
Special Editions & Bespoke Items
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