Can a group of people typically associated with stoking our consumerist urges achieve a plan for world peace?
In 72 hours?
Since Wednesday, November 16th, global ad agency CP+B and Swedish new media school Hyper Island have been working together on the 72 Hours For Peace project. This collaborative effort aspires to no less than peace on Earth but does so in a practical manner: by creating the world’s largest creative commons database of ideas for how to end all major conflict.
Initially, Hyper Island simply wanted to hire CP+B to come teach one of their Master Classes—three-day intensives that cover forward-thinking lessons on interactive and digital communication. The agency agreed to teach a crash course, but Hyper Island also got a lot more than it bargained for. Instead of talking about changing brands, CP+B decided to use the opportunity to apply its creative problem-solving process to changing the world.
"When you get a creative brief, there’s always a problem you need to solve," says Gustav Martner, an executive creative director at the European arm of the agency. "It’s always the same process, whether it’s big or small." In this case, the scope of the problem is decidedly big. The 72-hour project looks at the idea of peace as the ultimate "impossible brief."
The three-day event was broken down into separate curriculums for each day, mimicking the way creatives at CP+B attack a new assignment. The first day, the event kicked off with a briefing session. After receiving the parameters of the assignment—which in this case resembled that of a superhero’s—the students were then separated into 60 groups of 5-6 people. From there, they were charged with developing ideas for potential solutions into short, concise paragraphs. These ideas were then pored over and written up like press releases. Next, the agency creatives held feedback conferences for fine-tuning.
On the second day, the team from CP+B helped further shape the initial wave of ideas and had the teams also come up with new paragraphs, in case their first ones could be topped. Each group would eventually vote on the best ideas to run with, and develop them further through more feedback sessions. Finally, on Friday, November 18th, each team uploaded a video presentation describing their plan to the 72 Hours of Peace site, helping to form the online database. Here's one:
So far, the massive project has generated a wealth of innovative ideas, too, ranging from a brand that would sell designer jewelry made from melted-down weapons, to the creation of a worldwide one-day armistice in online multiplayer war games as a symbolic starting point.
The initiative has also attracted a lot of attention online. In addition to reaching the number one trending topic spot on Twitter in Sweden, on Thursday both the Swedish Foreign Minister Carl Bildt and the Swedish Foreign Ministry have engaged in Twitter discussions, using the the #72hPEACE hashtag.
Movements for peace have often been neatly packaged inside an anti-commercialism message, but the 72 Hours for Peace project indelibly proves that positive solutions can come from many different places—even advertising agencies and boutique media schools.
[Top, thumbnail homepage image: "Hug Or Die" from Team 14 in 72 Hours For Peace Project]