Tapping into the popularity of "unboxing" videos, YouTube influencer Jacques Slade unwraps a pair of "slave-made" trainers in an eye-opening video by The Thomson Reuters Foundation that highlights modern-day sweatshop culture.
In the ten-minute film, which was created pro bono by TBWA/Chiat/Day New York, Slade--who is known for his sneaker videos viewed by over 1.5 million people--opens the custom-made pair of trainers on camera for the first time.
At first glance, the shoes, created in collaboration with L.A. shoe designer The Shoe Surgeon, look cool, with off-white mid-tops and zig-zag stitching. But a closer look reveals hidden facts about slavery and forced labour. The price tag on the shoe, for example, doesn't display the price, but the price of a slave today ($90). The tongue tag displays, "40M'" like a logo, but on the back, there is an explanation that there are 40 million slaves today. The insoles include pictures of sweatshop conditions.
The initiative aims to raise awareness of the hidden costs of products among young people, and it seems it's succeeding -- so far, the video has been viewed over 61,000 times on YouTube. See the case study on how the campaign was made here.
"This is a very exciting initiative for the Foundation, to shed light on this monstrous crime," says Monique Villa, CEO of the Thomson Reuters Foundation, in a statement. "Jacques Slade has spread a critical message at a pace and scale that is breathtaking. How many people today are questioning the human price of the shoes they wear? We hope this film will encourage hundreds of thousands more to do so."