TOUR DE MOON, the STEAM Lab who showed me how to integrate diversity and equality into a marketing plan.
I met Nelly Ben Hayoun back in 2013. She was a Wired fellow who caught my attention because she made a zero gravitation model with a couch and was exploiting mad volcanoes in her front room. At that time she was finishing assembling the “International Space Orchestra”. The experiment consisted of bringing astronauts and people from NASA to play together with amazing artists like Beck and sending music to space. As a tech and society journalist I was so curious about her creative process and design methods, that I hunted her manager and got an interview. We talked about critical design and space methods and how a big asteroid killed life on the planet millions of years ago. (Nelly is a huge critical designer). Her new project was called “Disaster Playground”, this experiment intended to show how we aren’t ready for a threat like (an asteroid crash) this nor if we could survive it. I was a social media agency partner at that point and every client had a huge amount of fear in regards to what we call today’s cancel culture. I used to work on crisis management for big corp. kahunas so it made sense to bring a critical designer to explain threats and how to mitigate them. We came up with a workshop, clients loved her and then we went scuba diving to see the Mexican oceans where the asteroids felt.
Little did I know that Nelly´s work ten years later would become one of the most praised teaching methods for younger generations. STEAM (science, technology arts and math) is the new pedagogical approach to school education. Her new endeavor, amazing as always, consists in bringing the most important humans from the underground to teach kids how to think out of the box and build a better society as we conquer space. Tour de Moon engages people in the spaces, whether digital or physical, that they inhabit in their everyday lives. Tour de Moon in Nelly´s words is a festival developed ‘in conversation’ with our universal satellite — the Moon — that aims to reach and bring together millions of people through real and virtual immersive experiences to activate their radical imagination.” The Moon is a landscape and main character with whom all festival attendants discuss, inspire, and experience future utopias beyond Earth. With nightlife game changers such as Peaches Christ and Stoya, astronauts and designers, Tour de Moon takes mentorship and project development into a project of proportions people haven’t experienced before.
I had the honor of preparing the marketing strategy for the launch. This is the first time that I had to think in terms of EDI (Equality, Diversity and Inclusion) inside a STEAM environment. I was mind blown by it. We had an amazing workshop where young people explained what all these mean to them. My role inside the “Tour de moon” was clear: I had to recommend a clear marketing plan where we would guarantee safe spaces that respect the rights and individual expression while inviting young audiences to be involved in the STEAM environment.
Diversity and inclusion are a social commitment enabled by communities where respect and a safe space are included for all members.This sounds logical and common sense, however, ethnic, racial and gender minorities feel ignored or offended within social media traditional spaces such as facebook and instagram where the algorithm just pushes them into their own communities and where fear and racism are being fed inside other people’s´ feeds. Branding exercises, media selection and advertising campaigns derived from audience segmentation are inadequate since the same algorithms tend to characterize audiences in a contextual way. Social networks from the facebook algorithm by their nature are far from including and diversifying tastes. Places like Discord and Tiktok are better options for inclusion, safety and diversity. I believe that brands today have to act as content creators and community members, not advertisers. There is also this moral obligation to express an identity in a natural, flawless approach. I think the Tour de Moon is perfect for that kind of exploration. Tour de Moon is a commision by Unboxed, the festival that unlocks creativity all over the UK.
The launch was happening and my planning job was done. I left Nelly and her amazing team receiving open calls from young people all over the world.(They are giving away millions of pounds for youngsters to work their utopias and show them to the world). We will see the first results in April when the kick off of live events in Leicester, Southampton and Newcastle receive the first queer STEAM festival to integrate space colonization in their conversations.
When the Moon Convoy is over I will hopefully travel again with my friend, scuba dive in caves and pretend we just found water on the amazing satelite who brought us to a dream of a better society, the beautiful moon.