The Thomson Reuters Foundation (TRF), which works with journalists and organizations to bring to light human rights abuses and corruption, is tapping into the millennial behaviour of unboxing videos to highlight one of its causes.
To do so, the foundation teamed up with Jacques Slade, a YouTube personality known for videos where he unboxes sneakers to a 851,000-strong audience, to highlight the plight of modern slavery.
Slade’s video begins with a disclaimer explaning that he was sent a mystery box and viewers should stick around to learn a really important message. He then proceeds to open the package, to reveal a high-end shoe box where the word “Humanmade” is replaced by “Slavemade” once it is fully opened. As the pair of shoes is revealed so are stats about modern slavery, which can be found on the shoe’s tongue, laces and soles.
Stats disclose that slavery still exists in 161 countries and counting, while also highlighting that less than 2% of slaves will ever be rescued. Slade then shows the shoe’s dust bag, in which a printed letter addressed to him and his viewers explains that they do not expect people to stop buying sneakers, but rather to stop and ask themselves: “What is the human price of the products you buy?”
Slade, whose core audience is men aged 13-24, explains that he was initially contacted by a creative agency on behalf of an “unspecified nonprofit organization” to take part in a video about forced labour, and that was the extent of what he knew prior to recording the video.
The stunt aimed to tap into an audience who is highly engaged about their passion, which in this case is owning and cherishing limited-edition footwear by the likes of Nike and adidas.
As part of the campaign, the organization is asking for donations towards its fight against slavery and human trafficking. Donations will go towards funding media coverage, training and mentoring journalists in specific geographies with a high prevalence of slavery, and bringing frontline activists to the Trust Conference where they would learn new skills.