By Gail Davvis-Carter (ListenGive Writer)
The 25Forty Project given by the MullenLowe’s Erin Swenson Gorrall and Blake Winfree was one of the most thought-provoking presentations at this year’s Cannes Lions event. A project with the intention of bringing more people with diverse backgrounds into the Advertising industry so that it reflects the world of cultures we live in today.
Blake Winfree took us on a journey through a short film where the 25Forty Project visited the Boston Arts Academy High School. The students were from Asian, African-American, Muslim, Hispanic and Caucasian backgrounds. Blake asked each student if they considered themselves to be creative and what they were creatively passionate about. The students were very clear they had no interest in attending regular academic schools. They chose their school so they would experience their field of art ranging from dance, music, gaming to graphic design everyday in addition to their academic studies. These students were just everyday teenagers who truly loved art in some way.
Blake’s next question was when they hear Advertising, what do they think of? Their responses ranged anywhere from food commercials, food posters, or one person does all the work to no knowledge at all.
Further in to the short film, the students were shown a few commercials, PSAs and advertisements in subjects from political demonstrations, changemakers changing the world and body image. After viewing these commercials, students were asked if they would ever consider a career in Advertising and what was their perception after watching each advertisement. Some of the answers shared were, “I did not know that advertising could create a meaningful message in politics,” to “I didn’t realize advertising created positive messages for body image.”
By the end of the discussion, the students had learned there were career opportunities for them in Advertising. What Blake and Erin learned is the reason minorities weren’t applying for careers in Advertising was because they were never asked.
The 25Forty Project also illustrated the importance of partnership between all ages. Blake and Erin are older and connected with these young students. The students of the Boston Arts Academy High School will forever be changed. Through Blake and Erin, they learned their were more career options available to their field of study. It was a partnership borne out of learning, and not a focus of young versus old. A message seemingly permeating our society these days. Lets continue to work together as a society rather than separating ourselves based on ethnicity and age.
Thank you 25Forty Project, MullenLowe and Cannes Lions for showing us what is possible when we all work together.