Initiated by the Purpose Disruptors network, The Great Reset is a call to the advertising industry to use its creative power to help reset how we live. “We need to reset ourselves to become agents of change, not just passive recipients of briefs,” says Purpose Disruptors’ co-founder Lisa Merrick-Lawless who we catch up with below along with Grant Hunter, Global ECD at Iris.
People from Iris, Wieden & Kennedy, McCann, Gravity Road and Thinkhouse have developed the initiative, with D&AD as a key launch partner.
You can access resources and pledge support on the website, www.greatreset.com which also includes a White Paper that sets out the need for the industry to ‘reset ourselves’, ‘reset out work’ and ‘reset our impact’.
Please tell us about Purpose Disruptors and its aims.
Lisa Merrick-Lawless: Purpose Disruptors is here to change the industry from within, our aim is to change the industry for good, forever. We’re a network of advertising insiders and a community of over 700 people. We believe that if we can help change the people by getting them to emotionally connect they will change the work, which will help change both the industry and society.
Our mission is to create a visible, large-scale, bottom-up movement within the advertising and marketing industry that will act together in solidarity to promote a more sustainable way of living, where both people and the planet can flourish, including actively tackling climate change.
Like all good movements, we started in a pub, a few concerned individuals from the industry having conversations about what we could do. In June 2019 we ran the first industry Climate Crisis Summit and since then we have run 20 pub nights and virtual events, six Climate summits, 12 action studios and three industry-wide initiatives have come out from these: Create & Strike – led by Iris; #changethebrief – led by Mindshare; and The Great Reset, our latest collaborative initiative created by the Purpose Disruptors community and supported by many creative agencies, in particular Iris who created the identity, launch film and website.
What are the main obstacles to that transformative change in the industry so far?
Lisa: A big cultural and system-wide shift is required. Some people in the industry are going to be resistant to change, and for them driving mass consumption and unsustainable lifestyles is the job of advertising and marketing – they don’t see the bigger picture. To lots of people though, it honestly never occurred to them that they are responsible for the impact of their creative work. When most people in the industry talk about being ‘sustainable’ they think about how energy efficient their office is, or the carbon impact of their production. This is all important, but we think it is time the conversation grew beyond this.
The recent Great Reset research we did through OnePulse shows that only 23% of the population believe post-lockdown advertising should encourage people to consume, shop and fly like before, while 77% think it is the creative industry’s responsibility to encourage people to behave more sustainably, as we have during lockdown.
How did this project come about, and is it a first in the industry to work in a collaborative form, across several agencies?
Grant Hunter: The Purpose Disruptors network ran a series of virtual workshops challenging over 70 creative minds to come up with ideas for The Great Reset. The creative sessions saw creatives from competing companies across the industry come together to explore ideas; along with ways to get the creative industries to step up and take action.
At Iris we picked up the gauntlet and looked at how we could bring the call to arms to life. We developed the creative idea for the launch film – the blank page. This sees the story unfold in three chapters. The first reminds us of the power our creativity has, but questions why we rarely take stock to really think about its effect. The second acknowledges the role Covid and lockdown played in giving us a moment to pause and the positive behaviours it has encouraged during the ‘new normal’. The Final Chapter presents the opportunity we have – the great big, blank page. Our opportunity to reimagine, to reset the way we live and to question what we influence.
What was behind your decision to use collage? And who created it?
Grant: The Great Reset launch film is in itself a glimpse of what’s possible when you recycle stock and remix it to create something new. It was all created in-house with our Iris design and animation studio led by our heads of design Lolly, Dave and Phil. A challenging two and a half week timeline from script to final film saw rapid development in multiple work streams. The Identity and the website were also developed in parallel to the film.
We had limited budget, lockdown conditions and no time. The script went through multiple iterations to fine-tune the messaging. Art direction routes were explored simultaneously with production quality in the very forefront of our minds. By using stock, a mix of footage and stills (big thank you to Shutterstock for supporting the production) with a restricted palate we created a world that could flex through the three chapters. And it’s a sustainable production method as it’s all created from recycled footage/imagery. Each designer took a different scene all working to an overall design direction. Daily team calls kept the design and animation team of nine connected and on track. Al, our animation lead, burnt some serious hours and his dedication is exactly the passion that this movement needs.
What has been the initial reaction to the campaign?
Lisa: We have had an amazing response to The Great Reset since it launched last week. The film is stunning and does such a great job of capturing the idea that creativity is power, that we have had many people play this back to us. People also mentioned the White Paper (on the website greatreset.com) gives them everything they need to understand the situation in depth and the action they can take.
Ellie Goulding shared it with her thirteen million social media followers and other celebs have reached out to get involved. We are in advanced discussions with a major TV channel (to be revealed) about a partnership and have meetings with two big consumer press titles next week.
Most importantly however, two things are happening in the industry: CEOs of big well-known agencies are stepping up to make a pledge to help support the movement, and creatives are reaching out to find out what they can do. As Purpose Disruptors we have been having conversations with leaders of agencies in the industry for over a year, since the first Climate Crisis Summit, but lockdown and the pause have accelerated these discussions as we can now ‘see’ more clearly what a more sustainable life may look like.
Grant and I are on the panel for the D&AD New Blood festival and will be talking to up and coming talent in the industry about how they can get involved.
What’s next for The Great Reset, and Purpose Disruptors?
This is just the beginning. We have funding for the next two phases of The Great Reset and are clear on what needs to happen. In phase two we are encouraging people to pledge on the website. We are looking for pledges from media owners, platforms and partners to provide space; pledges from creative agencies to provide talent and time; pledges from leaders and influencers to support it both internally and across their networks, and pledges from people who can amplify the message to get more people involved.
The website and the white paper, in more detail, both outline what needs to happen next. We need to reset ourselves to become agents of change, not just passive recipients of briefs. Reset our work so what we create promotes sustainable values, attitudes and behaviours and reset our impact by reevaluating what we measure and celebrate as success. Pledging as part of The Great Reset is the first step to committing to do this and we hope everyone in the industry gets involved, it’s going to take us all.
Interview by Amelie Lambert
The Great Reset
Iris Design and Animation Studio