'Cure for Racism' Pills Hit NYC Stores in Agency's Rogue Stunt
Hate crimes against the Asian American Pacific Islander (AAPI) community increased 300 percent during the pandemic and remain a serious problem across the country.
In response, Anchor Worldwide created a series of fake pill boxes and placed them in pharmacies throughout New York City to educate residents about the rise in AAPI crimes and how to help. "Cure for Racism: AAPI Formula" looks like an average package of pills at your local pharmacy. A closer look shows it's anything but.
"There is no recommended dosage of anti-racism treatment," reads the fine print. "Only learning and understanding can help. If you are experiencing racist thoughts or behavior and feel increasingly violent towards others, just stay home and rest. Forever. No one wants racists out on the city streets. We all belong here."
The back side reads in bold font that "There is no medical cure for racism," while side copy drives people to StopAAPIhate.org for ways to support and give help or for those with biased thoughts towards the AAPI community to receive help.
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"Since 2020, we have all lived in fear of Covid, but my family and Asian friends had to face an additional fear: anti-AAPI hate," says Kevin Bae, art director at Anchor Worldwide. "We had to be cautious of our surroundings on the streets, even in the daytime. We had to check on each other every time we were outside. We wished for some magical, miraculous way to rid our world of racism, like the vaccines did for Covid, but there is no medical cure for hate. It still spreads like a disease, infecting people's minds. That's where the idea of a 'Cure for Racism' came from. Our pill packaging and faux pharma ads inform and educate people in areas where hate crimes have happened."
There are more than 100 boxes in 40 pharmacies in downtown and midtown Manhattan. Brooklyn and Queens are next. The stores are not being made aware of the stunt, nor did the agency ask for permission to place the boxes.
In addition to the faux pill packages, wild postings throughout the city use headlines like "Cure for racism" and "Feel less racist, fast" to stop residents in their tracks. A QR code offers more info.
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"We are looking at ways to provide the print-ready designs online so we can scale this NYC operation nationally wherever anti-AAPI hate crimes are happening," Bae tells Muse. "We are also hoping to officially partner with a pharmacy chain, like CVS or Walgreens, to actually sell the empty pill packs to raise donations for StopAAPIhate.org and other anti Asian hate organizations."
CEO: Sebastian Eldridge
CCO: Aaron Sedlak
CPO/Head of Production: Saxon Eldridge
ACD/Art: Aria McManus
CD/Writer: Jeremy Leder
Art Director: Sang Young (Kevin) Bae