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February 4, 2021

Picture a Better World

Kicking off Black History Month, BBDO has partnered with the racial justice group: Colors of Change to help everyone imagine a more just world. This augmented reality project envisions the Confederate statues toppled during the Social Equality movements of 2020 being replaced with racial justice leaders, such as the late U.S. representative John Lewis, Freedom March NYC co-founder Chelsea Miller and Black Lives Matter co-founder Alicia Garza. Viewers are directed to empty pedestals where they can use AR technology to imagine these heroes presiding over a new movement of change. The goal is to put a new and more just world within everyone’s sights, and to encourage the push for real equality. This is a view to a future we all fervently believe in.

It’s Called Balance, People

One thing (ok – yes, there have been lots of things) we have been happy to leave behind is the era of full frontal influence – the impossible icons of perfectionism that used to populate our feeds. WFH and lockdowns have stripped away the layers of impossibility and ushered in what’s real. The perfect uniform for this new way of being? Chipotle’s new line of activewear. (I’ll give you a minute here.) Made from sustainable fabrics and featuring the infamous Chipotle pepper, this is activewear that pulls no punches. Who says you can’t have your burrito and eat it too?

An Instant Classic

Ikea is a brand that used to be shorthand for temporary, first-apartment type furnishings. Like training wheels for adulthood, Ikea bridged the gray area between cast-offs and designer goods. But as the Swedish giant continues to put a stake in the ground for sustainability, it is looking to shake off its image as the fast food of furnishings and to encourage its consumers to repair instead of replace. The firm is now looking at selling items such as sofa legs, covers and arm rests, in addition to the replacement nuts and bolts it currently offers for free. Just think – maybe someday we will all be bidding on Ikea heirlooms on Ebay!

Look Ma, No Hands!

In a bold move for overwhelmed humans everywhere, Nike has unveiled the NIKE GO FlyEase, a contactless, easy-on, easy off sneaker which answers the ambitious question of how to take your shoes on and off without using your hands. Created in collaboration with athletes, engineers and designers, the new shoe completely reimagines the simple movement of kicking off your shoes as the basis for accessible and empowering design. This is a fabulous example of designing for the life we all have – busy, messy and real. Go Nike!

Focus!

Almost no has been immune to a lack of focus during the pandemic. From doom scrolling to the lax structure in our WFH days, focus seems elusive. Imagine the amplification of this frustration for those struggling with ADHD. Hungarian designer Vatány Szabolcs has created a font and browser extension to make it easier for these people to concentrate when reading online content. The Focus Ex Extension, which works on desktop and mobile, allows users to change entire paragraphs on a web page into a different typeface, called Focus Sans. According to Szabolcs, this kind of personalisation is especially important for people with ADHD, who can often struggle with focusing and processing written information. Design and technology in service to understanding – this is evolution.

Fashioning Change

If 2021 was a super power, it would be empathy. Never has there been a time in recent history where so many have been touched by shared fear, pain, and longing. No person, and no industry has been immune. Because of this, even that Everest of alchemy: fashion – has had to rethink their strategies and their offerings. For many, that meant simply new delivery systems or canceled shows, for others – it became an opportunity to help people think differently. Virgil Abloh’s Fall Winter 2021 show for Louis Vuitton was a master class in storytelling as a tool to inspire empathy and evoke change. The designer crafted a short film directed by Wu Tang and featuring Mos Def to tell the story of being “different, illegible, othered.” Gorgeous, uncomfortable and compelling, it is a deeply layered tour de force that bears watching again and again. This is the year that every business and industry must ask how they can use the vehicle of their goods, services and messages to bring about badly needed change. Abloh sets the bar beautifully.

We’re Not Really Strangers

For Valentino, this included a card game collaboration – designed to provoke and invite new ways of thinking about ourselves and others. Maison Valentino has rolled out a partnership with We’re Not Really Strangers, an independent platform by LA based model and artist Koreen. Launched on Instagram Live with a star studded fashion cast, the game is made up of 25 conversation cards intended to reflect “the shared values of both brands: empathy, individuality and positivity.” Couture card games making the world a better place? Sure beats Jumanji! Deal me in!

Stop Bugging Me

Just in time for Valentine’s Day, the San Antonio Zoo is launching “Cry Me a Cockroach,” a charity promotion where for $5, they’ll name a cockroach after your ex and feed it to one of their lovely lizards. All proceeds benefit the zoo’s new jaguar habitat, because every time you dump a liar, a cheetah gets her lair. No doubt the lizards of San Jose will be living large in the weeks to come!

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Instagram Inspo- we are all a little blurry right now… and sometimes, blurry is quite beautiful. It will come into focus soon enough.
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