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.