Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.
What’s the elevator pitch for your project?
We don’t regret the things we did. We regret the things we didn’t do.
For years 5 Gum has used famous influencers to connect with young people and inspire them to try something new. This year, to activate young people, we turned to a different kind of influencer with zero followers and no social clout – Martin, a senior citizen – who was chosen not for what he’d done, but for what he hadn’t, and the regret he had as a result of his choice. His story of regret inspired teens and young adults around the world to embrace their fears and new experiences and make choices that ultimately changed their lives, turning our senior’s lifelong regret into a powerful force for good.
What was the impetus for this project? What real-world challenge were you trying to solve?
Young people knew of 5 Gum, but lacked any meaningful connection to the brand. To build meaning behind it, we decided to set our bar higher than driving likes and shares of our content among teens and young adults. Instead, we decided to leverage a different type of influencer that could inspire real action, beyond clicks and comments. We found Martin, a senior citizen, with a real regret powerful and inspiring enough to actually change the behavior of young people and then helped make that behavior change possible.
In short, we knew that if we inspired and enabled something meaningful for young people, we would in turn establish meaning behind our brand.
We learned that as we age, the decisions we make become part of our personal narrative—they define who we are. Surprisingly, we don’t often dwell on the “bad decisions” we make. Instead we chalk them up to "necessary life lessons." But the choices we shy away from, when fear of what could happen prevents us from embracing something new, are the ones that haunt us long after the moment has passed.
Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?
This was 5’s first digital-first campaign designed specifically to live in places and spaces where young people would be primed to listen and engage. Instagram and YouTube were crucial to conveying our message because we knew that’s where young people were spending a bulk of their time and would be most receptive, particularly when each piece of content was designed specifically for each channel.
How did this project defy your expectations?
We hoped to tell meaningful stories that started a broader cultural conversation around the brand, but we truly didn’t expect to find a story as powerful as Martin’s that went on to inspire young people to come out to their families and peers. This campaign gave us the opportunity to share and elevate a coming out story at a national scale, but also to promote a message of inclusivity for a generation that expects it.