Responses by JJ Lim, creative director, R/GA.
Background: “Love Lives On” is the next step in R/GA’s and Ad Council’s partnership for the Love Has No Labels campaign, which promotes acceptance and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability. It was created for the folks who are squarely in the middle, the many individuals who want to act in solidarity and love for the many issues plaguing and wreaking havoc on society today—but don’t quite know what to do, who to do it for and who to align with. We want to show that you can do something and that a simple act borne by love can live on and last longer than you know.
Design thinking: First, we had to shift our audience’s reaction from emotional connection and awareness to action. Our driving insight was that America has forgotten how to love or show love. In partnership with The George Floyd Memorial Foundation, we created a timeless film with a gut-wrenching reveal to show that, through tragedy and adversity, any form of love can live on, driven by simple acts that anyone can do. We pushed to partner with Hulu, a streaming platform that we know aligns with our purpose. Then, we supported that with action and proof: docu-shorts with Bridgett Floyd, president of the foundation; Barbara Poma, cofounder of onePULSE, a foundation established to create a sanctuary of hope following the Orlando Pulse nightclub shooting; and Maddy Park, founder of Cafe Maddy Cab, a provider of cab rides for the vulnerable Asian population in New York City. We seeded simple acts of love through multiple touchpoints: social, OOH, broadcast and display. Vote, protest, reach out, understand, and listen to marginalized classes and groups. Everyone—anyone—can do that.
Challenges: Telling the stories. It’s important to note that these aren’t scripts in our stories. These are sacred, powerful memories from our subjects to our audience—the ones we want to compel into action. These stories also represent the shockingly real world in which BIPOC, LGBTQA+ and AAPI live. We didn’t rewrite or fabricate anything. The team interviewed all our gracious subjects, honed and tweaked the scenes and dialogue with reverence, reflected in the authentic memories, vulnerable moments and conversations from Floyd, Park and Poma.
Favorite details: There is a timeless nature to the films and docu-shorts, and that stems from the choiceful nuances through the film, color, music, wardrobe, language and the instantly relatable scenarios we chose to reflect.
Also, the folks that worked on the film, from agency to production, to onset talent—this work was created by people who identify with the BIPOC, LGBTQA+ and AAPI communities. At every stage of the work, there was a tacit understanding of why we were there.
New lessons: This is a little cliche, but I was heartened by how quickly everyone involved embraced the project. They all went above and beyond, and the amount of empathy and thoughtfulness they displayed while working with sensitive subject matter proves that we can come together purposefully with understanding.
Specific project demands: Less of a demand and more a conscious effort to provide the viewers and audience with prescriptive, simple acts they can perform, harnessing the emotion and reaction from the film and channeling that into action.