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The plug-in that makes cookies seem much less delicious | #BehindTheIdea

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Forever Beta is pushing for the Government’s recent Online Advertising Programme consultation to go further to protect children from being tricked into sharing their data online, particularly in the case of ‘Cookies’. 

To highlight this issue, the agency has created a new plug-in that businesses can use to automatically change the term ‘Cookies’ to the more accurate (less yummy-sounding) ‘data collectors’. Because what child would say no to a Cookie? 

The plug-in can be easily downloaded by businesses through the ‘Don’t call it Cookie’ microsite and Forever Beta is approaching websites that target children to push them to make the switch. 

To push the government to do more to tackle this issue, a Change.org petition has been set up by Forever Beta to push the Government to stop the misleading use of the word ‘Cookies’. 

The idea for this campaign originated from a conversation between Forever Beta’s CCO Paulo Areas and his young daughter about why something as serious as data collection has such a delicious name and all the emotional connotation that the word cookies bring to a kid.

Paulo said: “We all leave a digital footprint behind us when we go online, but as adults, we are responsible for our acts and decisions. Children, on the other hand, shouldn't be misled into giving up their data without fully understanding the impact it will bring on their lives."

We caught up with Paulo this week to pick his brain over the campaign and what it means to him, his agency and his family.

What was the brief?

To push families and brands to better educate the next digital generations, and to spark conversations around online data piracy for kids and therefore, help kids understand and protect the

How did the initial pitch/brainstorming phase go?

In collaboration with several partners and teams, we’ve discussed the right approach for the idea. From exploring the technological possibilities to finding the right tone of voice, we wanted to engage with adults in a way they would feel compelled to talk about the matter at home, and consequently, do something to change it.

What was the process behind ideating the concept?

At Forever Beta we are constantly having conversations about how to improve deceptive digital design and privacy policies, so we can all have a better and more honest digital experience.

These conversations go beyond our professional environment, reaching our friends, family and kids, the places we would usually find the most insightful information. The idea #dontcallitcookies came from one of these interactions. Talking to our kids, explaining the whole concept of privacy online, we have noticed their reaction to accepting cookies as the front door to digital privacy invasion.

All little ones accepted cookies due to the emotional connotation of the word, not understanding the digital meaning of it. That clearly was misleading, and we decided to highlight a problem that has not been noticed so far so that we might educate the next digital generation.

What was the production process like?

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We brought several international partners on board to develop a campaign calling people's attention to the misleading terminology. Along with Cookies Studio in the UK (a fit choice for the cause) and Canja Audio in Brazil, we created a 90"animated video featuring one unhappy cookie challenging adults on their choices.

The video would invite people to a website where they could find a petition to push the responsible authorities into changing the name COOKIES to something more honest. But we did not stop there, we wanted to give people an easy way to fix their privacy settings, so we developed a plugin, both to web developers willing to embrace the cause, and parents, wanting to protect their kids

What was the biggest challenge during production? How did you overcome it?

Without a doubt the plugin development. Changing the name ‘cookies’ in a website is not rocket science, but the different languages in different websites make it hard to have one plugin that serves all webs.

We had to explore several possibilities that would make it easy and fast for anyone to change their settings with just one click. We ended up with one plug-in aimed at developers that automatically changes the web setting, and another plug-in for parents, developed to automatically replace the word cookies for Data Collectors on their kids' browser.

What kit/tools/software were used to create the project?

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Wordpress Plugin. Chrome extension. The vanilla javascript solution for creating your own Data Collector Consent Screen is based on this GDPR compliant open source project.

What is one funny or notable thing that happened during production?

Apart from the gigantic effort of every partner involved, especially Canja Audio and Cookie Studios, I think the most notable part of the production was when we got our kids involved in the process, and had to explain them what the campaign was about. 

The priceless reaction on their faces saying things like “wow, they are fooling us” gave us the strength to push for the best piece we could have.

What’s the main message of this project and why does it matter?

Being in Forever Beta means to be capable of always evolving and reshaping according to cultural and environmental needs. We strongly believe our industry should do so, for us to lead people to a better and more socially sustainable experience, where conscious consumption and consumer education will lead the path to a refreshed and relevant new advertising.

How long did it take from inception to delivery?

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Being a passion project, it took around 15 months from concept to execution. We also used this time to talk to lots of endorsers that would help us shape the campaign for better results, like the World Wide Web foundation, that has a whole department working just with deceptive design, a matter that fits perfectly our cause.

What do you hope it achieves for the brand?

The best achievement this campaign can bring is to have people talking to their kids about privacy online during dinner time. That would already be something huge. We want to empower the next generation to make informed decisions about who they share their data with online & restore the word ‘Cookies’ to its original chocolaty goodness.”

Credit list for the work?

Agency - Forever Beta

Chief Creative Officer - Paulo Areas

Creative Director - Felipe Faria

Creative team - Max Sizeland, James Halliday, Jessica Purchon, Luiz Medeiros, Majken Gram, Miles Bigham, Mark Campion, Rodrigo Cantalejo

Studio team - Alexander Harazim, Phil Hardy, Darren Cox

Producer - Sasha Oglanby

Social team - Jessica Ashworth-Aiton, Uzoma Patrick-Ogbu 

Developer - Vitor Manfredini 

Animation - Cookie Studio

Audio production - Canja Audio Culture

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