Tue | Aug 9, 2022

Using digital art to advocate social change

Published:Sunday | July 17, 2022 | 12:08 AM
Red Stripe Head of Corporate Affairs Dianne Ashton-Smith (centre) with the top three finalists in the Reel Responsibility competition at the official awards ceremony held recently at the Red Stripe Brewery on Spanish Town Road. From left: Second-place winn
Red Stripe Head of Corporate Affairs Dianne Ashton-Smith (centre) with the top three finalists in the Reel Responsibility competition at the official awards ceremony held recently at the Red Stripe Brewery on Spanish Town Road. From left: Second-place winners Javaughn Hunter and Fiona Johnson, first-place winner Daindra Harrison, and third-place group Stephanie Sewell, Richard Whyte, and Rory Mitchell.

Two years of curfews and restrictions left many Jamaicans feeling like we missed out. Therefore, it was no surprise that as the restrictions lifted, many of us raced to make up for lost time by hitting every possible party, lyme, and social event.

In anticipation of what would inevitably become a period of partying and accompanied by alcohol consumption, Red Stripe ramped its advocacy on Drink and Live Responsibly Campaign. An extension of the campaign was a consumer call to action competition specifically targeting amateur film-makers to submit 60-second Instagram Reels depicting how they drink and live responsibly.

From May 30-June 24, almost 50 students answered the call to use their talents as a force for good and a chance to win a 2-year Associated Degree scholarship to Edna Manley College of the Visual & Performing Arts, courtesy of the Desnoes & Geddes Foundation, and a share of $325,000 in cash.

POWERFUL MESSAGE

The submissions drew on comedy and dramatisation to convey their message, while others incorporated music and other elements of Jamaican culture. Highlights from the videos included statements and jingles like: “Me drink, you drive, mek we live responsibly”, “Eat before and while you are drinking”, and “Me drive, you just relax and drink, yu zimmi”.

Dean of the School of Dance at the Edna Manley College of the Visual and Performing Arts, Marlon Simms, noted, “The reel responsibility campaign is an excellent one because you’re using art to spread a very powerful message. I love the use of art and social media to tackle an issue that is so deeply personal for a lot of people. This campaign is aligned with the values we promote at Edna Manley, including looking out for each other and personal responsibility so it’s fitting that the winner will be joining our community to further explore her creative passions.”

Red Stripe Head of Corporate Affairs, Dianne Ashton-Smith, stated, “With the reopening of the entertainment sector we believed it was important to increase our advocacy around drinking responsibly. It’s very tempting to head back into social life and quickly try to make up for it. However, the whole point of this campaign is to say you can head back out and enjoy yourself and you can do so safely, responsibly, and in moderation.”

Ashton-Smith explained why Instagram was chosen as the platform for the campaign. “Social media reaches millions of people daily. It is a place people go to not only for jokes, gossip and fun but also for information and news and to stay up to date with what is happening globally. This initiative allows young people to express their innovativeness through digital art while contributing to a culture of responsibility.”