PLAN Film, Digital Sheboard by Hasan & Partners Helsinki

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Industry Charities, Foundations, Volunteers, Mobile applications, Human Rights
Media Film, Digital, Interactive & Mobile
Market Finland
Agency Hasan & Partners Helsinki
Creative Director Tobias Wacker
Creative Katariina Harteela
Production B-Reel
Director Freshteh Piltan
Released February 2018


Lions Reach 2018
PR Lions Digital & Social > Mobile & Apps Bronze Lion

Credits & Description

Media: Interactive
Category: Public interest
Client: Plan International Finland
Agency: hasan & partners, Helsinki
Country: Finland
Published: January 2018
Child rights organization Plan International Finland launches its latest initiative with an app called Sheboard to challenge the way we talk to and about girls. Developed with support from Samsung Electronics Nordic, Sheboard will be launched with 'Raised by Words' videos and a website created by hasan & partners. Aimed at young and adolescent girls who spend a lot of time texting friends, as well as parents and older siblings that text their children on a regular basis, Sheboard will be launched at Slush, the tech and startup event in Helsinki, November 30 2017. Sheboard uses predictive text technology to raise awareness of the impact of gender-typical speech. The language used to talk to and about girls is different to boys, which impacts on how girls perceive themselves and their abilities. Sheboard suggests words that empower girls and swaps stereotypical expressions with ones that pack a punch. Its initial launch for android phones will be in English. Sheboard is available for free download from the Google Play Store.
Plan International is a humanitarian organisation that works for girls’ rights. They’ve been more known for their work in developing countries, but they work globally for lasting impact on norms, attitudes and behaviours towards girls. We needed to make people see Plan as a global, modern organisation that advances equality for girls everywhere.

Research shows that we talk differently to children depending on their gender. We talk to boys about their abilities, skills and potential and to girls about their bodies and feelings. Little by little, this starts to influence how they see themselves. A study shows that by the age of six, girls are more likely to think that boys are the smarter gender; many girls believe that men will do better in fields associated with brilliance – such as physics and mathematics.

As our goal is to change behavior – how people talk to and about girls and women, we’d needed people to rethink their own behavior, and their own use of language – that’s why we created something everyone is using everyday: Sheboard.

The target audience are all of us: Parents, siblings, friends, colleagues, sons and daughters.

We wanted to make people see that Plan International does not only work in developing countries, but also advances equality for girls globally. Sheboard is relevant in any country, any language – and it also gained media attention all over the world, from rather equal ones to those where girls’ rights are neglected.

It was predictable Sheboard would raise also negative feelings – as equality discussions often do. That’s why we had a strong focus on the scientific side; the gender-biased language and its effects are a proven fact.

Gender-biased talk is a global problem – and Plan International is a global organization. Yet, money is scarce and behaviour change is difficult to achieve. That’s why PR played a vital role in making people re-think their behaviour, and the only way to reach a global and diverse audience.

Sheboard got media attention all over the world, both in advanced, relatively equal countries and in those where girls’ rights are neglected; from Finland to Turkey, from Australia to India. The editorial reach was over 712 Million.

Sheboard was covered e.g. by UK national press (Evening Standard), international business press (Business Insider), top tier tech press (the Next Web); noted by educational and sexual health related communities; and chosen as innovation of the day by Trendwatching. Social publisher NowThis created a video about Sheboard which alone got hundreds of shares and comments.

Many of the journalists tested the app and dug deep into the research. “Sheboard raises an interesting question: if we change our use of language regarding young girls into one that emphasizes strength and capacity, will it change the way they think about themselves?” wrote the Next Web.

But it’s not enough we made people read about it. The change starts from ourselves – we needed to make everyone reflect their own language and possibly change how they speak. And we did; a lot of people joined the discussion and told their own experiences and thoughts about Sheboard and gender-neutral language. For and against; some loved it, some declared it’s dangerous. A dad from Newport tweeted: “Just reading about #sheboard virtual keyboard has made me rethink how I talk to my daughter - even if she is just 3 months old”.

We collected words for the keyboard from children and campaign spokespeople: how should girls be described? Based on these words and research regarding gender-biased language, we created a dictionary of more than 2 500 words. It was widened by creating algorithms from female-empowering blogs and publications. The app was created together with Samsung – in a few months’ time – and made available in Google Play.

We launched Sheboard in Slush, world’s leading startup event. On social media, we promoted it with emotional spots showing why it’s needed – directed by an up-and-coming female talent. We also used the spokespeople to share the cause via social media and blogs. All this, we did with a strong focus on PR.

Now Sheboard is in the process of being translated e.g. to Spanish and Finnish. In addition, educational packages are planned; volunteers will keep workshops about gender-neutrality in schools,with help of Sheboard.

Campaign Description
Sheboard is a virtual keyboard for boosting girls’ confidence. With predictive text input, it suggests gender-neutral language. It helps everyone reflect on – and possibly change – the ways we talk to and about girls. Sheboard also reminds girls about the abilities they have that people don’t always think to mention.

The amount of communication that happens on our mobiles keeps growing. That’s why the keyboard is an ideal place for tapping into people’s language. But the idea is bigger than that; typing messages is something everyone can relate to, and just hearing about the keyboard makes people think how they choose their words when talking with or about girls.

HASAN & PARTNERS Helsinki, Finland Entrant Company
HASAN & PARTNERS Helsinki, Finland Idea Creation
HASAN & PARTNERS Helsinki, Finland Production
INTO DIGITAL Helsinki, Finland Production
B-REEL Stockholm, Sweden Production
PLAN INTERNATIONAL FINLAND Helsinki, Finland Additional Company
SAMSUNG ELECTRONICS NORDIC Stockholm, Sweden Additional Company
Katariina Harteela hasan & partners Oy Creative
Tobias Wacker hasan & partners Oy Creative director
Marc Stevenson hasan & partners Oy Executive producer
Joseph Bayne hasan & partners Oy Design director
Dean Clatworthy hasan & partners Oy Developer
Luca Rossi hasan & partners Oy Website designer / app designer
Sonya Isupova hasan & partners Oy Graphic Designer
Mika Onnela hasan & partners Oy Editor / animator
Laura Andersson hasan & partners Oy Junior creative
Riikka Rechardt hasan & partners Oy Junior creative
Antti Rasi Into-Digital Project manager
Mikko Hytönen Into-Digital Head developer
Freshteh Piltan B-reel Director
Lia Eliasson B-Reel Producer
Shoot Hayley Shoot Hayley Photographer
Eva Anttila Plan International Finland Client
Mika Välitalo Plan International Finland Client
Nora Lindström Plan International Finland Client
Kirsi Mettälä Plan International Finland Client
Inka Kovanen Plan International Finland Client
Elin Wallberg Samsung Electronics Nordic Client
Pia Fri hasan & partners Oy Account manager
Sarah Sheehan The Honey Partnership Project Director
Harriet Butterfield The Honey Partnership PR manager
Luke Bristow The Honey Partnership Client director
Guy Peters The Honey Partnership Community Manager
Cecilia Ho The Honey Partnership PR Executive
Toni Perez OSG Communications PR