Round 7 of 8: March

SENIOR Manager, Digital Governance (Global Communications), Pepsico

I've been working in digital and social media strategy for almost 10 years, and have had a heck of a time doing that agency-side, client-side and in consulting. I spent 10 years in Australia working across technology, financial services and consumer goods, and now lead a global digital capability for PepsiCo, out of their corporate headquarters in New York. I'm much less interested in awards, and far more interested in driving business impact. I spend my time trying to learn new things, helping others learn new things, and trying to go outside and exercise.



"Encourage politically disinterested American teenagers to take one meaningful step toward getting their governments to pass common sense gun-control legislation."




In February 2018, a 19-year-old walked through Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida, using an AR-15 rifle to shoot and kill 17 people. Mass shootings are defined as shootings in which four or more victims are injured, and they are all too common in the US; there were 346 mass shootings in 2017 alone. However, 
the right of gun ownership is enshrined in the U.S. Constitution under the 2nd Amendment, so gun regulations and gun control remain a fraught issue in the U.S.

The teenage survivors from Marjory Stoneman Douglas are now taking to the streets, using their social media channels and digital media-savvy to drive politicians, media and lawmakers to sit up and pay attention to the fact that something has to change. By the busloads, they took to Washington D.C. for a demonstration, and students have walked out of schools in states like Pennsylvania, Florida and and Illinois to generate more visibility.

These students are now being targeted by conspiracy theories and detractors, calling these student activists 'crisis actors', paid to argue against stricter gun laws. 

Some of these students' engagement campaigns could put brands to shame, with snappy comebacks to detractors and right-wing media on Twitter, to impassioned calls to action in rallies and demonstrations. Their active social engagement has risen to new heights, with one student's one-month old Twitter account amassing 1 million Twitter followers - eclipsing the 594,000 followers of the National Rifle Association (NRA), arguably the most outspoken of gun-rights lobbying groups.

The Ask:

Use digital and social media to encourage politically disinterested American teenagers to take one meaningful step toward getting their state and/or federal governments to pass common sense gun-control legislation.

Come up with a creative platform  that will mobilize the audience’s to take concrete steps to drive any change in gun-control legislation. The idea must be phased to allow momentum to stretch for a minimum of the next 6 months, with clear measurable outcomes for 'one meaningful step' to drive this change. Your response must include a recommended measurement framework outlining how 'one meaningful step' is to be measured.

The Audience:

Social and digital media-savvy US high-school students (aged 14-18). While social media usage and digital access varies across the US, focus only on those comfortable with smartphones, the internet and the sharing economy. They may not be well-versed in the 2nd amendment, the history of gun rights, or what specific types of legislation should be passed to have the most impact; but once made aware, they are more likely to be passionate, engaged, and empathetic about tragedy at Marjory Stoneman Douglas and the momentum the survivors have achieved to date.

The Barriers: 

  • They're not yet eligible to vote. The millennial demographic is seen as one of the nation's most passive voter blocs, and many pundits extend this thinking to mean that today's high-school students will be similarly disinterested in politics once they're eligible to vote. 
  • They might not know what they can do. Historically, American attitudes to gun-rights and the 2nd amendment is complicated and confusing, with the possible outcomes of 'common-sense gun control' often obfuscated by gun-rights groups. Do they lobby their local representatives? Can they only make change with a vote? Do they sign their name on an online petition? They need to understand what they specifically need to do to begin driving change. 
  • Their fellow Americans. There will be a lot of debate around what kind of legislation will achieve the desired outcome, but remember that any change to limit access to semi-automatic or automatic weapons is good change. Many American simply enjoy having access to guns, and are set in their ways, so how can we overcome this inertia? How can we use their resistance to change to our advantage?
  • They don't have many resources. They're young, and they're still in high school. They don't have a lot of money, but they have time, and they have social media savvy. They're familiar with content production, distribution, and dealing with online detractors.

Deadline for Round 7: March 31st 2018, 11:59pm Los Angeles time.