If not in words, how can we define “authenticity”?

Well, Marc Ecko himself did so by way of an equation. In probably my favorite panel of the whole interactive festival, I had the pleasure of listening to the famous designer take us through his “journey down the rabbit hole” as he called it. But, basically his personal history and discovery of his passion for creativity and what he believes in. I witnessed my first ever CREATIVE math equation.

In a very engaging and inspiring format, Marc showed us his equation for “AWEthenticity” in his panel: Marc Ecko’s Formula for AWEthentic Connections. (#fightthepaddle) To put it most simply, he explained to us that he came to a point in his career where he felt very compelled to do something good in the world with his talents. He said, “I want my CO2 emissions to be like ‘broccoli cake.'” And honestly, I think more of us should have that goal in mind with whatever it is we do. Having a career in advertising myself, I don’t always feel like I’m making a difference in the world, at least not always for the better and I left this panel feeling inspired to use my passion and creativity to do just that.

A big part of what he ended his panel on was about all of the efforts he’s been working on to help better our country’s very flawed education system. Specifically, his fight to end corporal punishment. I had no idea that there were still 20 states where paddling a child in the classroom was still legal! Texas, being one of those states, and being a mom to a 3 and a half year old, this fact struck a little close to home. I was very inspired by his two recent brand launches: Artists & Instigators and Unlimited Justice. Both were created with the goal of having an impact on the things he really cares about in the world, and in life. He talked about wanting his brand to be “The AARP of Pop Culture,” which I thought was a very cool thought. If only more brands felt that way.

He made reference to the recent documentary, “Waiting for Superman,” which I  had the opportunity to watch a screening of, during a recent production trip to LA.. It’s an extremely well done film on our education system documenting all of the different parts of what’s wrong with it from a variety of points of view. I left the screening feeling very moved and compelled to do something about the issues raises. And it was refreshing to hear someone like Marc Ecko speak about all of the admirable and very creative ways that he is trying to fix some of those problems. He ended by expressing to the audience that, “while we wait for superman, he sleeps.” We don’t need a super hero to fix our problems, “what we really need is Smokey the Bear.” We need more creative, smart minds in this world getting out there and DOING.



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