Cannes Lions

ABCs of Survival

THE BLOC, New York / NATIONAL BLACK CHILD DEVELOPMENT INSTITUTE / 2021

Awards:

2 Bronze Cannes Lions
2 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Background

The ABC’s of Survival is the book that should not exist, designed to be torn apart to change laws. The book is designed for children and adults. Its pages are an alphabet of survival lessons that support mental health for BIPOC youth in America and a section of tear-out protest posters and postcards to Congress for adults to take action. The book was made in partnership with The National Black Child Development Institute as part of their 50-years of providing culturally relevant, evidence-based, and trauma-informed resources that respond to the unique needs of Black children. With a total budget of $25,000, the project consisted of 100 limited-edition hard-bound books, an e-book for immediate virtual reading during the pandemic, a website to drive donations, and an Instagram account that teased a letter of the book each day during Black History Month.

Idea

The idea for The ABC’s of Survival came from parents, Shamel and Tiffany Washington. After George Floyd and Breonna Taylor were murdered, “we were looking for a creative solution to tell a troublesome story that plagues many Black households,” says Shamel, “and I wanted to create something that could help have “the talk” and help end the talk.” The idea was to create an actionable item to help people stand up for injustice in their communities. The ABC’s of Survival is for written and designed for child and adult audiences. The first half of the book is written and designed to read to children and support mental health for BIPOC youth in America. The second section in the book is designed to be torn apart so that adults can take protest posters into their community and send pre-stamped postcards to Congress to help change laws.

Strategy

The PR strategy was synced with Black History Month, the launch of the hard-bound book, and the availability of the e-book for families everywhere. The press release went out at the beginning of Black History Month and we've created buzz around the book’s Instagram handle @abcsofsurvival that started teasing content daily for the entire month of February. Results have been great as Forbes covered the book in detail, a Black writer from The Washington Post shared the book on social media, and the Underground Railroad Heritage Museum in Niagara Falls has placed the book on display. NBA starts, singers, politicians and reporters joined the conversation helping our online PR strategy.

Execution

The ABC’s of Survival contains 26 custom illustrations, one per each letter of the alphabet. Each piece of art is created by a Black artist or artist of color from around the world, with 21 different artists contributing to the final alphabet in the book. The illustrations were made using a consistent main palette of black, white, and orange and the artists were given complete freedom to choose their preferred medium and subject matter in relation to each letter in the book. The final result is art that explores pain, identity, hope, history, and empathy. @abcsofsurvival shared one piece of art per day, in alphabetical order, during Black History Month to tease the launch of the physical book and drive to an e-book made for immediate virtual education.

Outcome

With over 5 thousand followers and an average 350 likes per post the @abcsofsurvival handle was shared by NBA starts like @hbarnes, celebrity reporters like @thehungryhutch from THE WASHINGTON POST and famous singers like @Selah (Lauryn Hill's daughter). Forbes featured The ABC’s of Survival as being “How One Book Helps BIPOC Parents Talk To Their Kids About Race.” At the end of February, 100 limited-edition hard-bound copies went out to help create change. These copies went to BIPOC parents, students, teachers, senators, mayors, athletes, musicians, and other key influencers in the community. 10 schools are already using the book and posts as part of their curriculum. The book is on display at the Underground Railroad Heritage Museum in Niagara Falls and it's e-book editions has raised thousand of dollars through the www.abcsofsurvival.com website.