Who: Christian Lutz (aka: acclaimed Toronto-based film, music video and commercial director Director X) and Huge.
What: “Operation Prefrontal Cortex (OP: PFC),” an awareness effort promoting meditation and mindfulness as a means of reducing shootings and mass violence in Toronto.
When Part I: It started with a TEDxToronto talk last October, where Lutz spoke about being shot at a New Year’s Eve party he was hosting and how he wanted to do something to reduce gun violence in Toronto. He subsequently launched OP: PFC, which aims to introduce meditation and mindfulness in schools, prisons and other community groups. It also targets youth engaged in street violence.
How: The first goal is a pilot program to test mindfulness practices in three Toronto schools. To make that happen, OP: PFC is trying to raise $12,000 through a GoFundMe campaign. Huge came on board to help raise awareness and develop the launch campaign, brand identity, logo and website.
Why meditation: Lutz cites a growing body of research to show that meditation can significantly impact the prefrontal cortex and amygdala, the areas of the brain that control decision-making and emotions. A healthy pre-frontal cortex and amygdala leads to improved decision-making and more controlled, less emotional reactions.
Why schools? Abuse and neglect can damage the prefrontal cortex and amygdala in ways that can lead to violent behaviour. Lutz says meditation in schools can help young people overcome the challenges of living in harmful situations and/or violent communities.
And prisons? Same logic: help those in prison become less violent and calmer.
When Part II: The communications strategy is in market now, with a campaign built around digital and social. The new website launched Monday, and is built around Lutz’s TED Talk. It will be followed by a social media push laying out the shocking truths about gun violence, and the science behind the healing potential of more meditation. Look for posts from the OP: PFC on Instagram soon.