This month Pimp My Cause is featuring Growing Better, a social enterprise dedicated to creating better mental health through growing edible produce.
Growing Better’s urban farm in Leeds provides a supportive working environment for people facing a range of mental health challenges. Rob Moores, their founder said, “Being a part of our Growing Better team reduces isolation and stress, improves confidence and self-esteem, provides skills and work experience and encourages peer support. And on a broader level, as urban farmers we want to help build a sustainable, local, independent food ecosystem, reduce food miles, develop innovative and non-toxic ways of growing food and support community growing”.
The irony of debating digital elections in Churchill’s War rooms was not lost on those attending The Marketing Society and RadiumOne’s brilliant dinner discussion.
Political comms strategies of the past two years were not as coherent as those debated in those same rooms 75 years ago. However, the venue was perfect for a cracking conversation on data, communications and political campaigning.
Everyone at dinner shared their best political moment from the past twelve months – from fake news and social media ‘echo-chambers’ to the numerically-challenged Diane Abbott. The BBC’s political correspondent Steve Richards kicked off the debate with anecdotes of Blair courting media moguls, May’s campaign mismanagement and even Harold Wilson being pelted with eggs – which, according to Wilson, demonstrated high levels of household income and spending on eggs under his government!
With an array of media and data experts around the table it was inevitable that some sharp observations on digital electioneering would emerge – and they did.
Every now and again, you read something and think:
‘I wish I’d written that.’
It happened to me twice in April. And both pieces, broadly speaking, dealt with the same topic.
The first was Parag Khanna’s brilliant feature, The Great Migration, in the last issue of this magazine (Q2 2017, page 20). If you haven’t yet got to it, stop reading this and go and read it now. Really.
Because this truly excellent treatise on the rise of what Parag calls the ‘Independent Republic of the Supply Chain - ‘global citizens whose identity is tied into their journey, rather than their country of origin’ - should have every supposedly ‘global brand’ thinking very, very hard.
Legend has it that in a Paris restaurant in 1923, Ernest Hemingway’s friends challenged the writer to craft a story in just six words. The novelist responded with:
“For Sale: baby shoes, never worn.”
After writing the six words on a napkin and passing it around the table, Hemingway collected his $10 winnings from his friends. He later said he believed that it was the best short story he had ever written.
Writing six-word short stories is a favourite pastime of writers. We like the constraint, because we know it will make us more creative. It forces us to challenge every single word. Make every word count.
Along with haikus, a Japanese form of poetry, I often use six-word stories as an exercise in writing workshops to demonstrate the power of constraints. Without exception, people always rise to the challenge writing something far more interesting than if they’d been given an open brief.
The advertising industry has always structured itself around media. As new media emerged, new skills developed in order to service these new ways to reach the mass market. When television arrived, agencies created new departments around it before eventually pulling those departments back in when the importance of TV became clear. The same pattern repeated itself with digital, in departments and agencies.
Each discipline within the communications landscape germinated their own award shows to champion ideas within that specific discipline. Creative award shows were for creative agencies, media and PR and digital developed their own.
At the same time, all parties in the media-industrial-complex suddenly find themselves in competition for the same budgets: