Google does it again.

I’m in awe of their ability to strip away the bullshit and cut right to the heart of what makes their products great. 

Here, they show how Google Maps helped reunite a family after 25 years.

While the overwhelming majority of people will never use Google Maps to do anything other than navigate from point ‘A’ to ‘B’, this gets people to imagine other, perhaps more profound possibilities for the seemingly mundane service. 

And isn’t that what all great advertising does? Get us to imagine how a product or service could unlock hidden possibilities in our own lives? 

This short film from the Thai mobile service company True Move just may be the most moving piece of branded content ever. 

The Scarecrow, the latest branded content effort from Chipotle advocating for “food with integrity” is as haunting as it is beautiful.

But more importantly, it seems to have struck a cultural nerve. Since its debut just over a week ago, it’s sparked debate across major and niche media channels, garnered over 5 million views on YouTube, and inspired this brilliant Funny or Die parody.  

Facebook, Samsung, Qualcomm and others have created Internet.org, which aims to connect the world via the internet. 

According to Mark Zuckerberg: “There are huge barriers in developing countries to connecting and joining the knowledge economy. Internet.org brings together a global partnership that will work to overcome these challenges, including making internet access available to those who cannot currently afford it.” 

It’s an important effort and, hopefully, a future case study for how businesses, governments and communities can work together to create positive change on a global scale. 

Separately, the video for the effort is vaguely reminiscent of this old gem, no?

This chilling PSA from @CSGV reenacts the Trayvon Martin shooting to make a case against “Stand Your Ground” laws, which have only served to increase “justifiable homicide” cases since they were implemented. 

Nike recently launched a “Making” app, which is meant to enable apparel designers to make more environmentally responsible fabric choices. 

The app was designed in partnership with the London College of Fashion, and will be integrated into the curriculum of design courses throughout Europe. 

While the impact and shelf life of the app itself may be limited, its creation signals to the industry, and consumers, that Nike is working to integrate sustainability into the innovation process both inside and outside its own walls. 

What does the bucket list of a 4 year old from sub-Saharan Africa look like and why would he have one in the first place? 

Water is Life created a moving film that documents one such boy as he sets out to do all the things he’s ever wanted: ride in an airplane, meet his hero, share a first kiss. These are things that, disturbingly, too many of his peers won’t get the chance to do. Because in regions affected by the World Water Crisis, unsafe drinking water is one of the leading causes of death among children under 5. 

The film is a heartbreakingly powerful reminder of that reality. 

Coca-Cola, 2013 Creative Marketer of the Year and writer of my paychecks (draw your own correlations), recently reflected on how it has become one of the most beloved brand icons in history. 

The answer is deceptively simple: throughout the brand’s 126 year history, it has consistently created #workthatmatters. 

Coca-Cola’s @IvanPollard describes #workthatmatters as work that “comments on popular culture in a way that’s relevant to the brand and the people it serves.” 

That’s certainly true, but perhaps more important than merely commenting on popular culture, Coca-Cola has been successful at provoking the kind of change it wants to see in the world - from challenging racial prejudices to giving people another reason to smile. It’s the kind of work that helps shape culture for the better, and is the kind of work that makes me proud to be in this industry.

Follow the link above for the full presentation that was given at this year’s Cannes Festival. 

Patagonia Becomes an Official “Benefit Corporation” 

Patagonia has become one of California’s first “Benefit Corporations”, enabling & requiring it to manage its business in a way that creates both financial and social value. A small, yet significant step toward transforming the ethos of big business. 

Some mid-week inspiration courtesy of Charlie Chaplin. 70 years later and the message is as poignant as ever.

FedEx: Sustainable Shipping Isn’t All Fairies & Pixie Dust

A new spot from FedEx (via BBDO NY) is a nice reminder that corporate sustainability communications don’t have to be as dry as the subject matter would suggest.

The spot is set in an enchanted forest where we see the FedEx man living (and singing) in harmony with the trees and various woodland creatures. Then the fantasy is slowly stripped away to reveal a real-life FedEx man driving through a real forest telling us how the company’s electric trucks, recycled shipping materials, and fleet of lower-emissions planes still make for a “pretty enchanted tale.”

Patagonia “declares war on consumerism gone beserk, and admits its own environmental failings.”

(via Ad of the Day: Patagonia Asks You to Please Stop Buying Its Products | Adweek)

fastcompany:

WeTopia: What Would Happen If Zynga Made Games For Good?

Instead of spending money to buy a fake online cow, players of WeTopia advance by buying a real cow for real farmers in the developing world.

(via fastcompany)

fastcompany: Benetton Courts Controversy With World Leader Lip-Locks

In a move to reclaim its roots as a proponent of tolerance and regain cultural relevance, The United Colors of Benetton today launched the “Unhate” campaign, which features various world leaders symbolically embracing their differences by locking lips. To demonstrate its dedication to the cause, Benetton formed The Unhate Foundation, which “seeks to contribute to the creation of a new culture of tolerance.”

Well intentioned? Sure. Well executed? Methinks not. Benetton’s stated intention to promote tolerance is valid, timely and credible coming from the brand given its heritage. The execution, however, seems to be designed to stir controversy and publicity for the brand rather than meaningful conversation and action for the cause.

Memo to Benetton: the game has changed since the 80’s. You can’t simply broadcast provocative, high-minded ideas about social change and expect to endear people to your brand. Credit will be given to the brands that affect real change by challenging behaviors - not just grabbing headlines. Perhaps, in time, The Unhate Foundation will be that vehicle for change. We’ll stay tuned to see.

(via fastcompany)

Method: Now Cleans the Ocean and Your Home!

Method has found a way to manufacture new bottles using plastic from the massive island of floating waste known as the Great Pacific Garbage Patch. Method calls the innovation “Ocean PCR plastic,” which the EPA anticipates will help transform the trash in our oceans into usable products while growing the economy and creating jobs. Bravo.