Hey man, put your hands up. Higher! On your head. What do people see? First, a man about to be arrested and second, unless you’re wearing a suit, the waistband of your boxers. It’s that small detail, that simple insight that has led to a new line of men’s underwear called Peace Briefs.
Back at the Cannes Lions Festival in June, Butler, Shine, Stern & Partners executive creative director Keith Cartwright, CAA creative executive Geoff Edwards, and Twitter’s in-house global group creative director Jayanta Jenkins announced the launch of Saturday Morning, an organization aimed at inspiring, encouraging, and facilitating a creative response to societal problems around diversity and inclusion. The first challenge they issued was to find a creative way to address this challenge: The police and the community they serve–how do we reduce the violence?
Now this week, the three ad execs unveil their own first idea. Peace Briefs are boxer briefs, with phrases inscribed on the waistband designed to impact potential crisis’ between police and minorities. The lines include: I am not armed; Please don’t shoot; I have a family; My life matters; I am a father; and We don’t hate.
Edwards says part of the goal was to set a benchmark for the power of a simple idea. “We wanted to establish the fact that some of the most powerful ideas are also the simplest,” he says. “The first decision of the day is when you’re putting on your underwear. That first decision then is made with your values in mind. You put this on, you have that line on you, not that you’re going out into the world expecting to run into trouble, but if something happens, you’re already creating a form of communication between you and the person who has a suspicion or idea about you.”
While the briefs are now available for pre-order, and Cartwright says people should expect to start getting their orders by the end of October. They’re also launching a marketing campaign for Peace Briefs around that same time, with photos and video shot by Estevan Oriol, leading into the holiday season. Saturday Morning plans to use sales proceeds to fund free distribution of the briefs to inner city youths in Chicago, Los Angeles and other markets.
“When a police officer pulls you over for a broken tail light and it results in someone being thrown on the ground with their hands behind their back, does that officer realize that person is going home to their wife and child?” says Edwards. “Probably not. If they did, maybe they would approach that situation with a little bit more empathy.”