Today Oli + Alex (Oli Beale and Alex Holder), creative duo and professional troublemakers, launch Us V Them, a new campaigning platform that aims to harness the skills of the creative industry to tackle pressing social issues.
Over the course of 2015, Oli and Alex want to bring together fellow creatives under the Us V Them banner in a collaborative project to target some of the world’s biggest bad guys and effect positive behaviour change.
First on their hit list is big tobacco. The “I can’t wait til you’re legal” video, directed by Rattling Stick’s Sara Dunlop, launches today and shines a light on the tobacco industry’s reliance on young generations of smokers taking up the habit. Designed to be shared with teenagers on their 14th birthday, it depicts a middle-aged tobacco executive counting the days until 14 year olds are ‘legal’ and includes an unforgettable rendition of ‘Happy Birthday to You’.
“The creative industry’s stock in trade is bringing about behaviour change,” says Oli. “If we use those skills for good, we can make a valuable contribution to addressing some major social issues. With Us V Them we want to start a movement, one that engages and galvanises as much of the creative community as possible to fight bad guys. I don’t mind if we’re seen as idealists or naive, this is our way of at least trying to make a difference. This is about doing something useful.’
Over the next 12 months Us V Them will host three meetings in secret locations, with a view to identifying future targets and causes the group feels passionate about. For those based further afield, usvthem.org will serve as the online home for the collective’s work and news.
Says Alex: “The anti-tobacco campaign is a pilot. If it goes well, over the course of 2015 Us V Them will be calling out other bad guys in business, politics and society. It’s very, very exciting. If you’re a creative and you’re interested in joining the cause, visit usvthem.org and sign up. We’ll be in touch with marching orders…”