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Drink with Me

Malinda Sanna

It’s the ultimate irony that at a time when racial tensions are running high, the presidential election is looming, and red and blue states seem farther apart than ever, we are forced because of Covid to literally stand uncomfortably apart and cover our faces so we can’t even see each other’s expressions. I find myself smiling under my mask at strangers on the street as an automatic reaction to wanting to dissolve the weirdness in the air… until I realize they can’t see my smile, and then I just feel dumb, and then sad, that we are living like zombies right now.

There was a great ad a few years ago produced by Publicis London (#openyourworld) that showed what is possible if you pair up two strangers that, on the surface of it, seem diametrically opposed (ie a chauvinist and a feminist), then give them a task to do together, a chance to learn about each other through five simple questions. Then when their differences are revealed, they have a choice between just leaving, or staying and discussing their differences over a beer. It sounds trite I know, but it’s actually brilliant and you should watch it if you’ve never seen it.

The principle in the ad is simple – reconciliation happens one person at a time.

It’s easy to throw up our hands, shake our heads and feel resigned about the racism, anger and violence in our country right now. It can be intensely painful. But placing blame and venting about what’s wrong with people doesn’t help the situation, and it feels awful.

There is a lot of talk about “resistance” these days. I’ve had it. Had enough. Tired of this. It’s too much. I can’t take it anymore. But doesn’t action that comes from anger just play into the toxicity?

Maybe there is more power in the path of least resistance. Choosing to let go of negative energy. Digging deep for empathy. Looking inside ourselves before we judge others. Admitting to some inauthenticity in ourselves and sharing it with someone creates a “listening” that is infinitely powerful. In that listening opening and creativity can flourish.

There is such a vacuum of leadership  at so many levels today, but we’re still rich in what leaders of the past have shared with us. (And there will be future leaders. The next generation will have many.) Read some past speeches of Martin Luther King Jr. Or whomever inspires you. I’m in no position to preach, I just know what makes me feel better. Just turning off the noise, turning away from the news, putting the phone down and taking a deep breath. I don’t have to figure anything out in this red-hot minute. Just that simple act can turn the momentum around and make me feel good again.

If you’re reading this, you’re probably a creator of communications in some way shape or form. Many of us are at a crossroads where we are looking to bring more humanity into what we do. The people that made that beer commercial could have followed the same old rules that have long governed beer ads. But they chose a larger idea. Imagine if we all saw that opportunity in everything we did?

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#advertising #brandvalues #creativestratetgy #heineken #inthistogether #momentum #openyourworld #publicislondon #reconciliation

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