Valentine’s Day Ten Percent project ShredYourEx helped heal broken hearts. And kittens. - McKinney

Valentine’s Day Ten Percent project ShredYourEx helped heal broken hearts. And kittens.

February 23, 2015

This year, McKinney offered those spending Valentine’s Day alone a chance to warm their cold hearts with the healing power of sweet destruction. Over four days, photos of scornful lovers Instagramed or tweeted to @ShredYourEx with the hashtag #ShredYourEx were printed directly into a commercial-grade paper shredder above a digital fire for all to see at All shreds were donated toPaws4ever to be used as bedding for kittens recovering from surgery.

The concept was dreamed up by a team of creatives and executed under the McKinney Ten Percent, a program that encourages everyone to focus on new applications of creativity for up to 15 hours a month. It began as a casual lunch conversation between Art Director Alex Nassour and Copywriter Dylan Meagher. “We got to thinking that, in the old days, you could burn or rip those pictures of your ex stashed under your bed,” said Dylan. “You can’t do that with a digital photo, and simply deleting it doesn’t offer the same satisfaction.” But public destruction does.

On the night of February 14, Alex was in an LA hotel room watching the project he’d helped create on Inspired yet again, he created GIF of a photo being shredded and sent it to Copywriter David Sloan, who posted it to Reddit. Associate Creative Director Jordan Eakin remembered, “When we saw the GIF hit the third page, I thought we were through because that’s the highest I have seen any branded content get on Reddit.” Within hours, it made the front page at No. 3.

ShredYourEx also made front page of Funny or Die, garnered 197 million press impressions, and logged 13,772 Ustream viewer hours — that’s 1.5 years in just four days! Creative Director Owen Tingle reminisced, “Once the site took off on Valentine’s Day, it was amazingly fun to watch. After the machine ran for a solid eight hours, we eventually inked out, like a squid hugged too hard, around 3 AM, and it was glorious. Oh, the love of the Internet.”

More results follow:

44,050 unique visitors came to and spent an average of 2:22 there
2,500 posts were sent to @ShredYourEx, mostly from Twitter
1,065 posts were shredded in the live stream
267 posts were stuck in the printer queue and another 1,168 were waiting to be queued when the site went dark at 3 AM on February 15
Dozens of kittens will likely frolic in (and evacuate their bowels on) the shreds over the next few weeks at Paws4ever