Did you know slavery is a huge problem globally? Did you know the movie Lincoln is up for an Oscar? Did you know Lincoln is to advertising what Women Laughing Alone While Eating Salad is to stock photography?

I dunno, man. On paper, I'm with Lincoln is a nice start. In practice it's another piece of slacktivism.

Here's what I mean:


Let's make a hashtag for awareness. It costs us nothing. And the kids will feel good about retweeting even though they've done nothing to actually help. (Sorry, creating awareness isn't helping in this case.) Also, turning #Imwithlincoln into some rallying cry is kind of like turning #imagainstcolds into a rallying cry. It's not that controversial of a stance.

Besides, hashtags are already flawed in that they can be easily hijacked. (Side note to brands: stop believing in the almighty hashtag.)

Letters to congress

Does sending a letter to congress--a generic form letter-- actually do anything? Especially when embedded in such letter are a few statistics with no sources or references stated anywhere?

Lack of balls

The biggest issue with this campaign is that it isn't hard hitting enough. My guess is because rather than alienate potential donors by calling them out, it's easier to blame every last person in the free world for slavery. I can sort of kind of understand that. But it's also why this feels so castrated.

On the I'm with Lincoln website, I see no brand names explicitly called out as using slaves or slave labor. None. Only categories. You're asking us to write our specific senators to deal with the problem, albeit in some vague way. Why not ask us to boycott the biggest offending companies by name?

It's not like they are hard to find. I think every last person in the free world is aware of Foxconn.

Obligatory app

Which brings me to the Slaveryfootprint.org survey, as part of this campaign. Again it's very vague. You list everything in my closet as being potentially made by slaves, but what if I only buy American Apparel or any of the other 98 brands on this list?

Vague call to action

Even the plea for businesses on the site doesn't make sense. Take for instance this quote form the "for businesses" section.

We believe that through the simple act of engaging with us on this issue your enterprise is demonstrating considerable worldwide leadership for this cause. We believe that commitment to meeting the expectations of the global business community should be applauded and rewarded.

So wait. If i'm a company that owns a factory in India where seven year olds are used to make my clothes, the simple act of talking to you is contributing to the cause? For real?

Again: Lincoln had bigger balls than this.

Stage Two?

I am greatly anticipating (with only a hint of skepticism) the projects page in which Made In A Free World plans to "address slavery where it's more prevalent," whatever that means. And how "In the coming months, you will have the opportunity to participate in funding the rescue, rehabilitation and education of victims around the world," however that will happen.

And I truly hope it does. Because right now there's a neat video, a little bit of potential, and a whole lot of talk with no action. And if those campaigns were really effective, we would still be talking about KONY 2012.

By the way, you did know they made a follow up video to Kony 2012? Didn't you?

Yeah, I didn't think so.

CREDITS: “I’m With Lincoln” CLIENT: Made in a Free World: Justin Dillon Advertising Agency: barrettSF Creative Director/Copywriter: Jamie Barrett Production Company: biscuit filmworks Managing Director: Shawn Lacy Executive Producer: Colleen O’Donnell Director: Noam Murro Producer: Jay Veal Production Supervisor: Jen Berry Director of Photography: Eric Schmidt Editorial: Rock Paper Scissors, Stewart Reeves SpotWelders, Catherine Bull Music: J. Ralph, The Rumor Mill

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about the author

kidsleepy 17 year copywriter, now CD from Pittsburgh, who has worked in many cities including New York, Atlanta, Montreal and currently Los Angeles. I snark because I care. I ain't complainin' I'm just tellin' it like it is.