Soundtracks for Social Change: Can you hear Jimmy?

As the world tried to keep up with the speed of COVID, we all witnessed social change happen.

As communicators, Argyle’s Social Change team watched through a slightly different lens. We saw the muscles of social marketing flexed like no other time in history — the total weight of every delivery channel constantly reminding us to mask, distance, work from home and vaccinate.

Then a Spotify playlist called “Sounds of the Pandemic” caught my attention. It was another tool or outlet to facilitate change, but with a different energy. Watching the change happen was easy, but could we hear it happening, too?

Social change is palpable at any level. If you’re listening, you can hear its soundtrack.

In 1992, Wesley Snipes’ character in White Men Can’t Jump suggested “Listening to Jimmy Hendrix is not the same as hearing Jimmy.”

The mid-pandemic re-release of Prince’s dystopian Sign o’ the Times album reminded me of music’s power to carry social change. I recall being awestruck by a lyric in the title track of this album. That lyric: “In France, a skinny man died of a big disease with a little name. By chance his girlfriend came across the needle and soon she did the same.”

This musical powerhouse put rock, funk, soul, jazz and R&B into the blender, blurring genre, gender and culture. Breaking barriers, he had the world’s attention and chose to challenge the media and government on the lies of HIV/AIDS.

Prince is gone, and three decades have passed, but the misinformation about HIV/AIDS are like some of the flat-Earth rhetoric we heard while facing this pandemic, no?

The #MeToo movement had formidable musical champions like powerful Lady Gaga (Til it Happens To You), Fiona Apple (Sullen Girl) and Kesha (Praying), among others.

Other social odes that shook up the world include Bob Dylan’s The Times They Are Changin’, U2’s Sunday Bloody Sunday, and Helen Reddy’s I am Woman, top-of-mind songs with massive social agendas.

Nelson Mandela’s 70th Birthday Party in 1988 saw the world come together for a concert to raise awareness around the systemic injustices of apartheid. Live Aid later brought awareness to famine in Ethiopia and Hope for Haiti. The list goes on.

My point is that creativity doesn’t just reflect social change; it helps change happen.  

That’s what we do at Argyle. Using creativity, we work with change warriors to conquer cancer, reduce workplace injuries, battle addictions, repair our environment, advance causes, change policy, and educate populations to make things better.

We help orchestrate change by whispering, or screaming, in the ears of audiences. We use theory, research, strategy, creative and the ability to reach audiences where they live to maximize results. We’ve changed social norms around smoking in Nunavut, invited Manitobans to mix it up with a mocktail to reduce their risk from drinking alcohol, and used comedy to fight COVID misinformation.

Let me introduce the band. Although we might not sell out Wembley, this talented group of committed, experienced change-makers can help you create measurable, sustainable change.

Correy Myco
Correy MycoExecutive Vice President
As a 25-year veteran in the industry, Correy has established a reputation for excellence and is sought after by senior executives for strategy, creative concept development, issues management and reputation advice.

As a 25-year veteran in the industry, Correy has established a reputation for excellence and is sought after by senior executives for strategy, creative concept development, issues management and reputation advice. 

Kris Owen
Kris OwenVice President
With over 25 years in marketing and communications, Kris is skilled at helping clients understand what strategies and tactics will help achieve their organizational and project goals.

With over 25 years in marketing and communications, Kris is skilled at helping clients understand what strategies and tactics will help achieve their organizational and project goals. 

Jill McLean
Jill McLeanVice President
Jill provides our team and our clients with her research and innovation leadership, making sure our marketing and communications strategies are equally evidence-based and cutting-edge.

Jill provides our team and our clients with her research and innovation leadership, making sure our marketing and communications strategies are equally evidence-based and cutting-edge.

Varinder Brar
Varinder BrarDirector
Varinder applies his vast experience as a brand manager, business builder and digital marketer to achieve results for Argyle’s clients.

Varinder applies his vast experience as a brand manager, business builder and digital marketer to achieve results for Argyle’s clients.

Hilary Friesen
Hilary FriesenDirector
In her 14 years at Argyle, Hilary has established expertise in strategic marketing planning, development and implementation to ensure results for diverse clients.

In her 14 years at Argyle, Hilary has established expertise in strategic marketing planning, development and implementation to ensure results for diverse clients.

Suzanne Gaby
Suzanne GabyDirector
With 30 years of experience as a public health nurse, Suzanne uses her unique set of skills in consulting with communities, strategic planning and clinical decision-making.

With 30 years of experience as a public health nurse, Suzanne uses her unique set of skills in consulting with communities, strategic planning and clinical decision-making.

Kathleen Keating-Toews
Kathleen Keating-ToewsDirector
Kathleen has 13+ years of experience in education, health and social services sectors, focused on implementing evidence-based research into policy and practice in the substance use and mental health field.

Kathleen has 13+ years of experience in education, health and social services sectors, focused on implementing evidence-based research into policy and practice in the substance use and mental health field.

Geoff Forsdick
Geoff ForsdickSenior Consultant
Geoff puts his experience in health promotion, health screening, community outreach, and tobacco cessation to work to help clients address program and policy priorities.

Geoff puts his experience in health promotion, health screening, community outreach, and tobacco cessation to work to help clients address program and policy priorities.

Jane Stewart
Jane StewartSenior Consultant
Jane is skilled at writing and editing as well as researching, developing and implementing marketing communications plans.

Jane is skilled at writing and editing as well as researching, developing and implementing marketing communications plans.

Stasa Veroukis-Regina
Stasa Veroukis-ReginaSenior Consultant
Stasa is known for her ability to listen and understand client needs and translate them into practical goals, in turn developing and implementing strategic marketing and communications plans.

Stasa is known for her ability to listen and understand client needs and translate them into practical goals, in turn developing and implementing strategic marketing and communications plans.

Christina Hryniuk
Christina HryniukConsultant
Christina is a multi-talented writer and digital marketing manager, making sure every client puts their best foot forward online.

Christina is a multi-talented writer and digital marketing manager, making sure every client puts their best foot forward online.

Karlen Prendiville
Karlen PrendivilleConsultant
Karlen takes a dynamic and creative approach to working through challenges without clear-cut solutions while fostering relationships with people at all levels.

Karlen takes a dynamic and creative approach to working through challenges without clear-cut solutions while fostering relationships with people at all levels.

Taruni Singh
Taruni SinghAssociate Consultant
Taruni is an energetic problem solver and an organized team player with experience in community engagement and program coordination.

Taruni is an energetic problem solver and an organized team player with experience in community engagement and program coordination.

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