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Ehon Chan, 2011 Anthill 30under30 Honourable Mention

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What is 30under30?

30under30 is an Anthill initiative launched in early 2008 to encourage and promote entrepreneurship among young Australians. This year saw more outstanding entries than ever before. So, we thought we would highlight some of the bright and innovative nominees who just missed Top 30 by a wink. Behold, our 2011 30under30 Honourable Mentions! More.

Ehon Chan, VIC (b. 1989)

Name: Ehon Chan
Age: 21 (Born: September 1989)
Gender: Male
State: VIC

Anyone can readily accuse Ehon Chan’s Soften the Fck Up campaign of lacking subtlety and going for shock value, but that’s exactly the point. After all, he wants to save lives with it.

The campaign chiefly addresses Australia’s rate of suicides — 80% of whom are men.

The problem, says Chan, is that depression, drug addiction, and domestic violence are issues that too many “tough blokes” are afraid to talk about honestly.

The STFU website includes video testimonials from softened-up blokes who sought help, and links to networking and counseling services for men. There’s also merchandise for sale, including T-shirts bearing slogans like “Even Chuck Norris gets sad.”

Chan’s agency, Spur Projects, isn’t afraid to handle sensitive topics. His goal is to guide start-ups and non-profits, from the vantage point of advertising and marketing theories, to build up name recognition changing human behaviour for the greater good. This is brand engagement that wears its heart on its logo.

An earlier Chan campaign, To Mama with Love, was a collaborative art project that let visitors worldwide post creative tributes to their mothers. Launched to coincide with Mother’s Day, the week-long campaign raised $30,000 towards the efforts of “remarkable women who create hope in our world,” including activists and social workers in developing countries.

The connection to the greater good is personal for Chan: when he was 16, his best mate died by drowning in an accident. “The thought of dying at any minute challenges me to be the best that I can be everyday and to contribute wherever I can,” he affirms.

He excels at getting ventures started with little to no capital up front. His first campaign enlisted the efforts of angel investors, a pair of global PR and marketing titans, Edelman and McCann Worldgroup, plus several Federal and State ministers to come to fruition.

His agency, while still in its infancy, consists of staff members who are as passionate as himself about perpetuating the mission to engage consumers in unorthodox, yet touching, ways.

“It’s not everyday that we get to save a life,” says Chan, “but everyday is a chance to affect one.”

Anthill asks: Ehon Chan, what’s your superpower?

“Building relationships. I can be a scruffy surfer, a hip street punk or a suit-up entrepreneur and build deep relationships with almost everyone I meet. This has helped me a lot in launching all my ventures and projects.”

A message from Ehon Chan

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To check out the full list of Anthill’s 30under30 winners, click here.

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