Billie Eilish celebrates Gen Z and digital activism in new campaign

Fronted by Billie Eilish, the uplifting #WhatWeDoNext ad campaign refutes preconceptions that Gen Z are out of touch thanks to modern devices and social media.

Renowned as digital natives, Gen Z are no strangers to getting flak from their elders for being glued to their phone screens and ‘wasting time’. But today, on UN International Youth Day, an ad campaign by Saatchi & Saatchi has dropped with the intention of opening people’s eyes to the impact of social media and connectivity in bringing about positive change.

In partnership with Deutsche Telekom, advertising agency Saatchi & Saatchi enlisted Vincent Haycock to direct the ambitious video short at the centre of the #WhatWeDoNext campaign. The esteemed director quickly identified multi Grammy award-winning teen artist Billie Eilish as the perfect mouthpiece to rally Gen Z, bringing real authenticity – and of course virality – to the message.

A Gen Z icon for both her staunch attitude towards individuality and candid revelations on mental health, Eilish fronts an ensemble of young activists including former UN Dutch Youth Representative Jahkini Bisselink (18), cyber security expert Philipp Kalweit (20), and sustainable fashion pioneer Anna-Laura Kummer (24).

Providing both the soundtrack and narration, Eilish promotes ‘phone positivity’ by shining a light on how tech is being harnessed to usher in a more inclusive, ethical, and sustainable world… all the while pointing to Gen Z as the driving force behind this progress.

Over moving shots of young people protesting, celebrating Pride, and encouraging creativity, Eilish sarcastically remarks, ‘how can a generation that lives online know anything about the real world,’ aptly sounding off with the suggestion that next time our elders ask ‘what we’re doing on it [on our phones], why don’t we show them what we’re doing with it.’

Echoing this sentiment, Haycock revealed: ‘We wanted to capture the spirit of this generation and show their collective voice harnessed by their use of social media. They [Gen Z] are a generation that uses technology and social media to raise awareness and create communities. We set out to make a film that felt honest to each of the characters’ world. Most of what you see is either their actual world or inspired very closely by who they are or what they represent.’

At Thred, we love the message being spread here. People need to start adopting a more optimistic view of technology and social media in their day-to-day lives, because like it or not, it will play a pivotal role in shaping a better society – for everyone.

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