Adam Ferrier – The Consumer Psychologist


The Cannes Chimera: Ending Global Poverty


This week I received great news, I was part of a team that won one of only 8 places in the Cannes Chimera.  This is an award put on jointly by The Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation and Cannes Lions.  It’s a great honour to win and thanks everyone involved in choosing our idea (from over 900 entries from around the world)

The brief was ‘How to stop global poverty’. The idea we came up with was very simple, and very behavioural in short it was this:

The Act Button

In partnership with a major online news provider, the Act Button can be activated after an extreme poverty news story, allowing the user to share positive solutions that could play a role in changing the outcome of a particular news story.

Imagine reading the news about a disaster, famine, or fire and you want to help immediately.  Simply press the ‘Act’ button and donate (or potentially take other action too).  I love the idea as it’s a lovely example of asking for a contextually relevant action, and making it easy to happen. What I mean by this is that there are many occasions through someones day when they are motivated to do something. If you simply make it easier for that action to happen, whilst they are motivated then they’ll do it.  For example, if you’ve just read an emotive, story about a famine, and it makes you feel sad you’ll be motivated to help and donate.  Now if someone makes it easy at that exact time for you to donate, you will.  ‘Emotion’ has a very short half life, meaning if we can’t get you to donate at the exact time you’re feeling the emotion, it will be hard to convert the emotion into action later.

The idea has parallels to something that The National Portrait Gallery piloted, a couple of years ago. They apparently put QR codes underneath their paintings. If you saw a painting and were emotionally stirred by it you could activate the QR code there and then and donate to the artist or gallery.

Now the other nice thing about our idea is that what do news services want? They want people to subscribe and pay to get behind their pay-wall. This idea could be open to only those people who subscribe to the news service thereby a) encouraging people to pay for the news, and b) creating perceived value for the gift of donating (you only get to donate if you subscribe).

As I’ve moved on from Naked I wont be getting a chance to build the idea further.  Selfishly, it feels funny (not funny ha ha, more funny peculiar) leaving an idea as big and simple as this one half-finished.  If the idea is selected from the final eight as the best idea it will receive a further $1,000,000.00 (one million dollars) and will be activated across the world.

Redistributing the worlds wealth will be tough, but will help fight global poverty.  And I can’t help but think this idea is so simple and so right that it may have a significantly positive impact.

What do you think? 

I wish the team at Naked Communications the best of luck as they develop it further, and I send Bill and Melinda positive vibes as I hope they choose our idea.