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SHOP FOR JAPAN / Project Case Study Brooks Hassig

On March 11 at 2:46pm JST a massive 9.0-magnitude earthquake occurred near the northeastern coast of Japan, creating extremely destructive tsunami waves which hit Japan just minutes after the earthquake, and triggering evacuations and warnings across the Pacific Ocean.

We had to do something.

As designers, we are in a unique position to create change. We communicate ideas, affect points of view, & make things happen. So we didn’t just know we had to act, we knew we could act.

Six days later, Shop for Japan was born.

We would create a one-day event where merchants donate a percentage of their sales to any aid organization they chose. We would build a platform for showcasing and sharing these shops, and create materials that would allow merchants to energize their customers around this opportunity.

Eight days later, we had our team. Brooks Hassig Red Leader Principal, Design by Seeing

Kathryn Storm

Alex Grande

Noel Vaughn

Edward West

Jacob Park

Ellisa Feinstein

Designer Visual Designer, Mindjet

Advising Hustler President & Co-founder, Mission Motors

Rock Star Coder Software Engineer, Rearden Commerce

Movement Catalyst Director of Marketing, Drivve LLC

Dev Ninja Lead Developer, DentBetty

PR Maven Sustainability Communications Consultant

But there was a catch...

I gave us only seven days to make it happen.

We needed to do something and fast. To be most effective, I felt we needed to act while this tragedy was in the hearts and minds of people around the world, while it was still on the top ten most watched videos on YouTube – in short, while people still cared. The opportunity to mobilize while there was a critical mass of shared public attention was tremendous. Eight days after the disaster, Libya was already replacing Japan in the headlines, and we feared that if we waited any longer, our opportunity was maximum impact would disappear. There was doubt both from within and outside our team that it would even be possible to make an impact on such an accelerated time line.

Through the power of shared purpose, committed work, social media, and design, this event would prove that in today’s world little stands in the way of a small, dedicated team making a huge change.

The next day, we designed, built, & launched a feature rich web platform from scratch in 24 hours flat. At the same time we were creating PR assets, brainstorming outreach strategies, refining our user experience flow, designing participant promotional kits and trying to stay awake. Each member of the team had a full time job to go to in the morning – or in Noel’s case, a job interview. Spoiler alter: he aced it and got the job.

A One-Day Global Community Event to Benefit Japan

PRESS RELEASE Shop for Japan on Saturday, March 26, 2011 A Global Community Event To Benefit Japan

San Francisco, CA: "Shop For Japan" is harnessing the power of business and the ubiquitous tools of social media to catalyze a global outpouring of support to benefit Japan’s recovery from the devastating earthquake and tsunami. The concept is simple: Participating businesses pledge to donate a percentage of their revenues from March 26th to one of Shop for Japan’s recommended charities. These disaster relief charities are rigorously vetted and will all be participating in relief and reconstruction efforts in Japan. Consumers can access a directory and map of participating businesses at, where they can find more information about businesses near them, the percentage of their donation, and the charity that business is supporting. The website will also provide tools making it easy for participating businesses and their supporters to get the word out. These will include customizable posters that can be downloaded and printed, digital website banners, and social media-ready announcements that can be posted to Facebook and Twitter.

A One-Day Global Local Movement to Benefit Japan

The Shop For Japan Flickr and Facebook pages will enable participants to post photos associated with the event, and the Shop for Japan website will post a final tally of the funds raised.


The project began as the brainchild of designer Brooks Hassig of Seeing Labs, a San Francisco based social media and branding firm, and Kathryn Storm. Brooks enlisted the help of his colleague, Alex Grande, also at Seeing Labs. The growing group brought in Edward West of Mission Motors, software engineer Noel Vaughn, and movement-builder Jacob Park to build a team that could create a global impact.

“We wanted to create a really simple, easy way to do something for Japan that would create the maximum impact. Everyone who sees photos and videos of the devastation wants to get involved, and we wanted to build a platform to make that possible. Shop For Japan empowers businesses to join a movement that will allow them to support themselves, the network of other businesses involved, and, most importantly, the people of Japan,” said Brooks Hassig. You’re joining businesses and customers from around

Thank you for choosing to participate in this movement. the world to support the people of Japan in a time of

“I am consistently enthralled by the power of the internet to organize, connect, and create need. instant global community on a radically unprecedented scale. Shop For Japan is an exploration of the geometric scalability of communications, community organization, andis easy. Helping out an emerging network of businesses interested in doing well by doing good. The Shop For Japan project shows how much can be done, quickly, on a global scale, for nothing other All you need to do is decided what percentage of sales than a modest investment of time and creativity," said Edward West.

you want to donate, and where you’ll donate to. You can find a list of suggested orgnizations on the next page.

The Shop For Japan platform demonstrates a new paradigm of a decentralized network of businesses and consumers working together to do good, united only by an idea, Then print, fill out, and post the poster included in this without any official or formal affiliation.

kit in your business’ window.

Learn more at Contact: Brooks Hassig <> Cell: 253-312-2511

If you want, you could even email your customers about the good they’ll do by shopping with you on Saturday. Finally, after Saturday is over, donate to your chosen organization, and send us your amount so we can celebrate.















A special note on printing: in order to make this as scalable as possible, we ask that you find a way to print your own poster. Given the circumstances, we think this is only a minor inconvenience. The color 11x17 poster will give you the best visibility. SHOPFORJAPAN.COM

We were astonished at the rate at which people signed up. No sooner did we tell them what we were doing, they wanted to help.

The most important step was to spread the word & get merchants on board.

We used literally every avenue we could â&#x20AC;&#x201C; leveraging connections at Design Boom in Italy, Mashable in Silicon Valley, putting up posters, cold calling, email blasts to news outlets, pinging our social networks, and even calling our mothers. Local blogs, merchant associations, social networks, and participating businesses proved to be our greatest assets. We actively and strategically engaged people on twitter, following, RTing, and telling people our story. We were amazed how many merchants signed up to be Shops for Japan through contact on twitter alone. Facebook was also an invaluable tool for spreading the word. Merchants benefitted from signing up by the PR we gave them. Every business got a facebook review and tweet promoting their shop.

After working tirelessly for days, pounding the pavement, writing emails and sharing our story, we were finally on the cusp of success. The overwhelming support of people from around the world kept us going.

On Saturday, March 26, just 15 days after the devastating tsunami hit Japan, businesses and shoppers all around the world joined together to make a difference for people in need.

We may never know the full impact of this project. We know some merchants participated informally without signing up. And what of the intangibles? Increased hope? We donâ&#x20AC;&#x2122;t know. But we know at least this much...

7 days lead time 1 day of shopping 60+ merchants 10 countries 1,000â&#x20AC;&#x2122;s of shoppers $10,000+ raised for Japan

â&#x20AC;&#x153;Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed people can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has.â&#x20AC;?

We are surprised, grateful and humbled to have been a part of such a successful and accelerated project. We hope others are inspired by its success to contribute to those in need using new and exciting means. Visit to view the project on the web.


Shop for Japan Case Study  

A project case study for Shop for Japan, a one-day global community event to benefit Japan.

Shop for Japan Case Study  

A project case study for Shop for Japan, a one-day global community event to benefit Japan.