Concepting With Convicts taps into prisoners’ creative potential.
A group of creatives set out to prove that creativity can happen anywhere – even behind bars. Concepting With Convicts taps into the prison pen pal system to try to find those inmates who are interested in pursuing their creative passions.
Two interns at DigitasLBi in San Francisco, Ben Pfutzenreuter and Pat Davis were looking over pieces of art made by convicted felons, and were struck by their conclusion that a “good idea can come from anywhere.”
They teamed up with Marcus Lof to help with the art direction and website design, and sent hundreds of emails through the pen pal websites to try to find anyone that would be interested in their project. With a list of participants on board, “We realized that if we could contact convicts themselves, maybe we could also show them that their creative talents can translate into a real career on the outside,” explains Davis to PSFK.
The team sends traditional ad briefs to the inmates, with strategy positioning like “Make Cadillac even cooler” that could be fun in any agency meeting. The convicts then either act as the copywriter or art director of the piece, while the creatives fulfill the other role.
When asked which federal prisons were participating in this project, Davis was expectedly tight-lipped. “Attention is not always a friend to someone in a corrections facility,” says Davis. “We begin the conversation with convicts ensuring that within the project they will remain anonymous, and that it will never, ever, be for anyone’s profit.”
See some of the work produced below: