Creating purpose on purpose
Sean's approach to strategy is grounded in empathy; in the belief that the needs of the consumer should come before those of the business. Using principles from design, and methodologies from brand planning, Sean surfaces insights that are informed by a deep understanding of the audience's unmet, often unstated desires. Connecting those insights to universal human truths, cultural trends, stakeholders with shared values, and a brand's higher purpose, all translates to deeper, more meaningful relationships with audiences.
Some stuff I've worked on:
The Google.org Impact Challenge was created to identify social innovators, engage the public in supporting them, and award grant funding to the ideas with the greatest potential impact. We designed a modular film series that could be broken down and shared in pieces (videos, gifs, images, assets for social mastheads) to provide specific values aligned content that finalists, their followers, and the public could stump with.
We developed a program architecture and campaign that married The Nature Conservancy’s innovative approach to conservation with the pioneering spirit of Silicon Valley. We launched with a VR experience that put donors in the middle of a fishery to get a first hand look at the often unseen complexities of an overfished ecosystem, and partnered with Kaggle to call on their 200,00-300,000 data scientists to help bring tech-enabled monitoring to the long-line fishery in the Pacific.
In a pro bono effort to breathe new life into the movement behind the Equal Rights Amendment, we hosted a series of creative hackathons with designers, technologists, journalists, and writers, and created a living library of social assets. By engaging mainstream media outlets like Buzzfeed and Mashable, members of Congress like Pramila Jayapal, and influencers like Patricia Arquette, we got hundreds of millions of impressions, without a single dollar in paid media or production.
Recognizing that 21st century brands must partner with their communities to achieve shared and sustainable success, we relaunched the mega resort with a first-of-its-kind impact platform to nurture a Bahamian renaissance by supporting the local economy, cultural traditions and the marine ecosystem of the Bahamas. That vision transcended the marketing, informing every aspect of the Atlantis guest experience and providing a new model for local partnerships.
"Love Local" was developed to address to the growing concern of Whole Foods shoppers that the company was becoming a goliath; a more expensive version of the national grocery chains it once railed against. After spending time in the field with Whole Foods foragers, and seeing firsthand how personal their relationships were with local suppliers, it became clear that this was a love story. We just had to shine a light on the real family farmers, craft producers, and small businesses behind the products on the shelves.
The insight behind this campaign was simple: give water a voice in LA. Because the drought isn’t necessarily the problem here. It’s us – the people of Los Angeles. Reality is, water isn’t a top-of-mind, tangible concern for most Angelenos. As long as it's coming out of the hose or the tap, it’s an ideological issue. So we have to make it personal in order to get people to think twice about their engrained habits and behaviors.
How do you get people who have known Office as a utilitarian workhorse for the last 25 years to care about its transformation to the cloud? Celebrate the visionaries who are redefining work by blurring the lines between profession and passion. Following a first-of-its kind collaboration between two TED winners, this content series documents the efforts of Adam Braun and Sumatra Mitra to change the future of education through technology. We showed how they brought their ideas to life in classrooms from New Jersey to Ghana, and how seemingly simple solutions can change real lives.
Truth is, people love to hate Walmart. So how can we tell the skeptics, who don't want to listen to facts, that the company is committing vast resources to making the world a better place? We created the "Live Better" campaign to show in very human and relatable terms how Walmart is using it's success, size, and scale for good. By focusing on the real lives of individuals and families in real communities that Walmart serves, we translated complex corporate social responsibility initiatives into stories that have the power to move the most jaded haters.
Somewhere along the line, bicycles became complicated. Speed and spandex overshadowed fun and prices skyrocketed. But bicycles shouldn't be expensive or intimidating, so we set out to bring the magic and lightheartedness of your childhood back to bicycling. Our mission at Brilliant Bicycle Co. was simple: create bikes for humans. And make finding a bike as easy as riding one.
When a teacher walks into a classroom, it starts a cycle of success that stands on the shoulders of a great person, but also relies on smarter tools and support systems to help that individual do her best work. It's a complex, often delicate ecosystem that we captured in this story about the Foundation's unwavering commitment to teachers, and its role in empowering them to write the future of education.
Making an expensive rose champagne the bottle of choice in nightclubs for urban millennials required a different creative calculus than most traditional French luxury marketing. So we remixed Moet & Chandon's timelessly stylish heritage with the youthful audacity of standing for something different in a sea of sameness. Working with acclaimed director Sam Bayer and hip-hop legend Chuck English, we created a fantasy where pink bubbly pops with swagger.
How do you get the brightest creative minds on the planet to help accelerate positive change? Play to their egos, of course. We directly challenged the creative community at Cannes Lions '14 to prove their brilliance in the format they respond to best -- the brief. To drive submissions to The Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation's Cannes Chimera Challenge, we wrote "The Greatest Brief Ever," a call-to-creative-arms to help defeat society's biggest problems.
Let's be honest -- who actually understands the difference between 3G and 4G, let alone what LTE means? Sure, it has something to do with wireless data and networks, but with the all the jargon-y noise around speeds-and-feeds out there, there's real confusion around how it actually benefits the user. To demonstrate the breakneck speed of AT&T's 4G LTE network in simple, entertaining terms, we created The League of Super Fast Things, a fictional cabal of the world's fastest things.
Convincing millennials to buy a $300 pair of headphones from Sony is no easy feat, but add reality television personality Simon Cowell into the mix and that's another kind of challenge altogether. To launch the X10 headphones, a collaboration between Simon and Sony's audio engineering team, we celebrated the listeners. We told the stories of the curators, like Simon, with a pathological love for music, and the visceral connection they have with anything that brings them closer to their music.
In the darkest of hours, hope can come from unexpected places. This story of former gang members who are working with the LAPD and community groups as gang interventionists, shows how unlikely heroes are made, and how redemption is earned. In working with Pete Carroll's non-profit organization A Better LA, these men and women have helped significantly reduce gang violence on the streets, and start to heal the communities they once destroyed.
How do you get audiences to care about the quality of video capture on a second-tier smartphone? We turned to our old nemesis, FOMO. We created a series of blink-and-you'll-miss-them events, all captured by real HTC One X users, in this social and experiential campaign. Partnering with stars like Olympic swimmer Ryan Lochte and pro skater Paul Rodriguez, we invited their fans with HTC One X devices to these exclusive pop-up stunts, and asked them help us shoot the whole thing on their phones.
Let's face it -- elections are painful. Audiences have to endure the never-ending mudslinging, partisan rhetoric, and perhaps worst of all, political advertising. So we added some levity to the occasion with a tongue-in-cheek campaign to name the Bacon Wrapped Hot Dog the Official Hot Dog of Los Angeles. Using mock-political propaganda, and matching each online "vote" with a donation to local food banks, we put Farmer John in the center of the 2010 election conversation.