I have the best job in the world so personally feel it is really important to hold a barrier breaking charity project each year, using my creativity and crazy brain as a force for good not just PR. Indeed it was this time last year I had one of my lightbulb moments…
…create a pop up cake shop which sells only grey coloured miserable looking cakes to raise awareness of depression. A simple effect concept with one rule, EVERYTHING sold had to be grey coloured, you can read more about it here.
As it turns out it was not such a silly idea… …Depressed Cake Shops popped up around the world – including Canada, France, Pakistan, Malaysia, Belgium, Germany, USA, India, Brazil, Norway and Sweden – and continue to do so. I have loved seeing how each shop (over 125 to date) has had it’s own personality, and been thankful of how other creative individuals have put their own stamp on the concept as it’s spread around the world. It’s been staggering to witness how much cake can break down social stigma, engage people with a topic they may have found too difficult to embrace in any other way and heartening to see people gain strength from the project and make friends for life. It’s been awesome.
To date just short of £30,000 has already been raised with the amount continuing to rise every week. The money raised donated to a mental health charity of each shop’s choosing; an approach chosen to further empower those holding events and allowing them to directly support those who have helped them if they wished.
Media interest was on an incredible scale, with over 1000 pieces of print coverage generated to date, online coverage and social media too numerous to capture. You can view some of the coverage here – it has all my clients coverage on there too so you will need to scroll back.
Despite being someone filled with so much self doubt I am incredibly proud of The Depressed Cake Shop idea and how it has empowered people around the world to raise awareness of mental health issues. I have had endless emails and letters from people who have shared their personal stories of how it has helped them. It has given those suffering from depression a reason to get out of bed, and many others the strength to seek help. All of that said and done I will not be holding a pop up cake shop for the anniversary of the event, and I am writing this post as I am getting contacted by so many people regarding this.
So what now? Well the Depressed Cake Shop lives on and will always continue, the concept purposefully simple in the first place to allow anyone to hold their own event, there might even be one organised in London. I am not walking away from the concept but giving it room to breathe and others the chance to make it their own, I will always be there to offer support and answer any questions moving forward and am looking to set up a group to look after the Depressed Cake Shop movement and ensure it’s legacy.
As a creative I want to drive forward with inventive ideas that will continue to peak media interest and therefore raise awareness of mental health issues and create a platform for discussion. So that’s why in August there will be a series of ‘Depressed Dining’ events, starting in London, the Cakehead charity concept for 2014. As with the cake shop the concept is simple… it will be a tasting menu which consists of ONLY grey coloured delicious food made by incredibly talented chefs. If you want to get involved please do contact me otherwise sit tight and watch this space.
So what do you think – please let me know below or contact me privately using firstname.lastname@example.org.