Do you ever get the feeling that the voices of hate ring louder than the voices of hope? Wrapped up in our cozy little filter bubbles reading self-affirming articles from a select few news outlets, we’re wilfully blinding ourselves to contrasting points of view, until POP! goes the bubble, and Brexit happens. It turns out that my Facebook feed wasn’t representative of the UK population.
So what’s my response? I find myself carving an ironic Trumpkin on Halloween. 125 likes from my friends that already disagree with Trump’s point of view. More hot air expelled; the filter-bubble grows.
But luckily that wasn’t my only outlet. Six months ago we got the dream brief. Ben & Jerry’s – a brand that stands for peace, love and ice cream – wanted us to produce a manifesto film to launch their One Sweet World campaign. It’s a campaign that promotes social inclusion by tackling the things that are pulling our society apart; reminding us of our similarities, not of our differences. To support the campaign, Ben & Jerry’s have created a ‘One Sweet World’ flavour, which will help fund various projects run by HOPE not hate.
We wanted to find a playful way of showing how divisive politics and the media are becoming. But we wanted to leave people with a sweet taste in their mouth, a feeling that things can be turned around. And we needed to do all of this in the authentic voice of Ben & Jerry’s.
So we turned to animation... Set in a land not so far away, we created East Coneville. A town run by the Sour Party and their dastardly leader Lemony (any resemblance to political figures is purely coincidental), where other flavours are outcast and downtrodden.
We see the story through the eyes of Cherry, a plucky protagonist with an audacious vision for a sweeter, united East Coneville. We watch Cherry get cast out of a political rally and fail to get support from fellow flavours who are left apathetic after years of neglect and segregation. But when Cherry feels all is lost, she meets an unlikely friend; a young Lemon willing to share an earbud. From that glimmer of hope, we follow East Coneville’s transition to a bright, inclusive society. Viewers are then left with a simple message: we don’t live in a one flavour world.
Well for a start, take a quick glance back at the history of Ben & Jerry’s and you’ll notice that they’re a brand that gives a choc-chip. They’ve been vocal advocates of equality and climate change throughout their history. But more to the point, think about their reach! Ice cream is a product that knows no boundaries. Liberal? Conservative? No matter what your political leaning or nationality, I challenge you not to devour a tub of Cookie Dough. Brands like Ben & Jerry’s have the power to reach diverse audiences; people united by a love of ice cream, not by fear of others. And it’s only by more brands taking a vocal, authentic stance on serious issues, that we’ll be able to pop those pesky filter bubbles and unite audiences with positive messages of hope, instead of dividing them with message of hate.