Ad school grads spotlight products created by refugees by harnessing the power of stickers

Two students from the Miami Ad School in New York City have embarked on a guerrilla marketing campaign highlighting the cultural impact of refugees in the west, applying stickers that read Made By Refugee to everyday items such as books and foodstuffs.

Kien Quan and Jillian Young have been roaming New York surreptitiously ‘hijacking’ items with their labels, including sriracha sauce (brought to US from Vietnam), Bob Marley (from Jamaica) LPs and a copy of Sigmund Freud’s (from Austria) The Interpretation of Dreams.

The labels were designed to reflect the flag of the Refugee Nation in orange and black. Quan and Young have created a downloadable stickers sheet in the hope that others will join in spreading the Made By Refugee message worldwide.

Work on the project, which has been supported by creatives Rodrigo De Castro Silva, Joao Unzer and Chris Dumas, began in mid-February. Quan told The Drum that Made By Refugee could lead to further collaborations with Refugee Nation, which represented athletes without a national team at the Olympics in 2016.

“Refugees are regularly stereotyped in unflattering or cruel ways,” said Quan. “Whether they’re cast as hapless beggars, faceless members of a horde refusing to assimilate, or drains on a society’s resources, descriptions of refugees around the world rarely emphasize their individual talents and capabilities, or their all-too-human stories.

“We created this project to challenge the old stereotype of what people know about migrants. We want people to realize that refugees have been in our lives all along in the products we consume.”