'Slave-made' headphones educate a YouTube unboxer about children forced to work--and die--in mines

The Unlockr gets a sobering lesson on technology supply chains from the Thomson Reuters Foundation

Published On
Dec 06, 2018

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The tech industry makes regular use of minerals like tungsten, cobalt and gold that must be mined from deep within the earth. But much of that intense, manual labor is performed by people forced into it. These modern slaves make the gadgets and electronic conveniences the global economy depends on possible.

To drive home the ubiquity of slave labor in the technology supply chain, the Thomson Reuters Foundation and TBWA/Chiat/Day created a pair of “slave-made” headphones and sent them to David Cogen, founder of the unboxing YouTube channel The Unlockr. Embossed on the dark device are sobering statistics about the 40,000 children enslaved to mine cobalt in the Congo, or the 10 children each month who die mining mica in India.

After donning the headphones, Cogen hears a former slave tell of the terrible day he watched his friend die in a mine collapse.

This is the second video in the “Unboxing the Truth” campaign. The first featured Jacques Slade unboxing a pair of stylish “slave-made” sneakers to draw attention to that industry’s own sins.


Dec 06, 2018
Client :
Thomson Reuters
Agency :
Chief Creative Officer :
Chris Beresford-Hill
Executive Creative Director :
Walt Connelly
Head of Design :
Chris Rowson
Senior Art Director :
Alexander Holm
Senior Copywriter :
Avi Steinbach
Senior Designer :
Eric Kopicki
Editor :
K.S. Shanti
Designer :
John Smith
Planning Director :
Jonathan Deeves
Strategist :
Tara Goutermout
Global Strategy Director :
Sami Salmenkivi
Account Director :
Nora Chivelly
Group Account Director :
Kristoffer Aldorsson
Account Manager :
Darren Mitchell
Chief Executive Officer :
Rob Schwartz
Head of Integrated Production :
John Doris
Business Affairs Manager :
Kiersten Bergstrom
Senior Producer :
Steven Kreuch
Producer :
Von Harris
Associate Producer :
Sean Riojas
Associate Art Director :
Bonnie Wang
Animator :
Connie Chen
Motion Graphic Designer :
Seokmin Hong
Videographer :
Andrew Nethery
PR Director :
Jenna Hollmeyer
Retouching :
Sr. Audio Engineer :
Corey Bauman
Unboxing :
David Cogen

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