20 Sep WE ALL BLEED THE SAME COLOR
It might sound a bit strange, but in fact we do all bleed the same color. Which for me is a beautiful metaphor for how we are all equal despite the fact we do not live up to this way of thinking. Nevertheless, that does not mean we shouldn’t try to change this current state of inequality.
Reduce inequality is one of the Global Goals, to be precise goal number ten. Also the goal on which I was working this whole weekend during the Social Good Summit by the United Nations, organized by MediaLab Amsterdam. The Social Good Summit is a two-day conference examining the impact of technology, new media and current Zeitgeist on social good initiatives around the world. Held annually during UNGA Week, the Social Good Summit unites a dynamic community of global leaders and grassroots activists to discuss solutions for the greatest challenges of our time.
With a “ladies only” team, our challenge was to raise awareness regarding the impact of tax inequality in the Netherlands commissioned by Action Aid The Netherlands. It is quite shocking to realise the people have little to none knowledge regarding this very complicated subject and that needs to chance, because I believe that will be the stimulator for change.
During our research we discovered that the Netherlands is number one tax paradise for Multinationals while inhabitants have to pay a fairly high amount of tax. What makes it even worst is that these companies claim to have their headquarters in the Netherlands but in fact the headquarter is a mailbox. When we translate this into numbers;
* 80 of the 100 biggest companies in the world have a shell headquarter in the Netherlands.
* 49% of all Quote500 companies have a mailbox in the Netherlands
* If these multinationals paid the normal tax rate, the Netherlands would earn 5.5 billion euros in tax on an annual base.
Our challenge was, as said, to create more awareness regarding this phenomenon, these stats and their impact on our society with a interactive campaign. After two days of creative sessions, design sprints and prototyping based on design thinking techniques, we came up with the following concept:
“YOU’VE GOT MAIL”
– experience the secret of a free gift from your favourite brand –
You’ve got mail is an interactive installation where by 14.400 mailboxes will be exposed on a busy place in Amsterdam. These mailboxes symbolize the 14.400 mailbox companies that are existing in the Netherlands. Every box will expose a company that is active within these in-equal agreements with the Dutch Government. Passers-by will be triggered to interact with the installation by giving them the hypothesis of a free gift from their favourite brand.
Instead of finding a free I-pad, tickets for U2, a telephone subscription or new sneakers, they will find interactive information about the impact of tax inequality on our society and our world. The will be congratulated with the fact there is less money for education, health care or infrastructure. The are invited to interact with development countries and the direct affected by these special laws all with a focus on raising awareness.
Finally they are being offered a chance to return their gift to sender by getting more information and the opportunity to sign a petition regarding this subject. We alone cannot change the system, but if we are brave enough to join forces we can definitely enforce to change our Zeitgeist.