The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation wanted a big idea to inspire Millennials to engage global development issues. As the largest, most interconnected, most technologically sophisticated generation in human history, Millennials have an enormous opportunity to help create long-lasting change—but so far we haven’t found enough ways to tap into their creativity and skill to address the biggest problems in the world.
I spotted this opportunity to do some good whilst fitting with my agency SapientNitro’s purpose of enabling human potential. I pitched the idea to the European Leadership team and got some funding to begin.
The poverty line is defined as living on $1.25 per day.
Three billion men, women and children – almost half the population of the world – live below that line. It’s a monumental global problem, but one that the young people of the developed world rarely consider.
The facts and figures are saddening, but they’re so overwhelmingly big it’s difficult to comprehend their meaning.
There are tons of campaigns championing those in need that do cause people to frown for a second, but then whatsapp buzzes and they go back to scrolling through their newsfeeds over a £3.50 coffee. The message just isn’t resonating. We need something that will emotionally connect with them and break through the inertia by bringing the poverty line to them, making an abstract idea feel concrete.
In a world where daily activities are quantified, there is big data on everything, and interactions with friends are often through a small screen, it’s difficult to connect with the intangible. In order to disrupt a buzzing, digital day we needed to create something that felt real. And relevant.
For the first time, the poverty line is literally brought to youngsters, in their social spaces, on everyday items they consume without a thought, causing them to take notice of the issue. We print our own ‘poverty line’ stickers and stick them on all of the items we buy and take for granted every day: a Chai Tea Latte, a fruit cider, or even something as simple as pint of milk from the local supermarket.
The sticker is a literal line and marks the point of the consumable item that equates to $1.25 worth, based on the purchase price. Instantly, this disrupts your day as you emotionally equate the small quantity of your indulgence with the amount someone in absolute poverty is living on each day. This connection allows you to understand global poverty issues, in your terms.
Pitch proposal, strategy lead, creative ideation and development. I have also spoken about the idea at many company events to crowds of up to 400 people as part of a program created by Sapient to inspire their employees.