Steve McGrath, December 2015
The unshakable images of San Bernardino dominated our thoughts last week, rightly overshadowing some other compelling sights, offline and on, that might otherwise have grabbed more attention.
I have two examples in mind.
The first was the literal greening of the Eiffel Tower during the Paris climate talks.
For an online donation, you could “plant” a digital tree that would be projected onto the Eiffel Tower and would “grow” at a pace determined by your heartbeat as registered through a sensor on your smartphone (phew!). Each tree was supposedly unique. You could follow the forest’s growth online, and each virtual tree was to be replicated in the real world.
As of Tuesday, more than 52,000 virtual trees had been planted.
While planting trees for the planet isn’t exactly a new idea, this 1 Heart 1 Tree project is a particularly strong execution of the concept. It’s a creative blend of the digital and the natural, and the symbolic and the practical. Perfectly timed, it synthesizes the four essential pathways to relevance: thinking, sensations, values and community.
1 Heart 1 Tree was also a perfect way to move on from the red, white and blue illumination of the tower following the Paris terror attacks.
The other fascinating image from last week was this one:
It’s Hillary Clinton’s tribute to Rosa Parks, who was arrested 60 years ago on Dec. 1 for refusing to give up her seat on the bus. The image, shared on Facebook, blends the civil rights heroine with Hillary’s logo. Nice mashup, right? Well, not to those who saw it as horrible gaffe…. See it? That’s Ms. Parks at the back of the bus. Others found it simply exploitative.
Just a reminder that marketers can’t be too careful about what they introduce to the world. Although you can’t work scared, you’ve got to consult the critic in your head (or your agency partner) before you let your content fly.