Responses by R/GA
Background: Love Has No Labels is Ad Council’s movement to promote acceptance and inclusion of all people across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, age and ability. But in a moment of racial reckoning, the pitfall of “inclusion for all” in today’s climate became shutting down the conversation and diluting the importance of fighting against the disproportionate racism experienced by the Black community. We wanted others to recognize the disproportionate past and current institutional racism against Black people in America and remind them that in order to truly promote acceptance and inclusion of all people, we must all fight for the lives of Black people.
Reasoning: Freedom is at the core of what it means to be an American. It’s what we’re told to celebrate on July 4th. Just ahead of Independence Day, we wanted to invite Americans to evaluate how freedom can be one of our greatest ideals when it applies to Black people. To this day, the Black community is still not free to live without violence. Simple acts like birdwatching, lying in bed and breathing are part of our nation’s freedoms that many take for granted, let alone consider. So instead of celebrating freedom this July 4th, we wanted to call on Americans to fight for it. All lives can’t matter until all Black lives do.
Challenges: We are navigating in an era of racial reckoning. For non-Black people, this experience entails a level of unfamiliarity and discomfort. Throughout the project, we needed to remind our non-Black colleagues and partners that discomfort is the precursor for change and progress. This was challenging as it required everyone to step outside of their comfort zones in an effort to create something bigger than ourselves and to advance the culture of diversity, equity and inclusion within the Black community.
Favorite details: The essence of our campaign evaluates elements of freedom like going on a cross-country drive, birdwatching and lying in bed. These details matter because these experiences come at the expense of Black lives.
Specific demands: It was a priority for us to address the Black community and explicitly say, “Black lives matter.” Though this didn’t necessarily make the project easier or harder, our adamance enabled us to closely evaluate any instance where our one-minute PSA might have detracted from that message.
Anything new: Activating allyship is a journey for everyone, and this is just the beginning. Any person that chooses to stand behind a message like this must understand that they have chosen to chart their path towards allyship, and thus, will be held accountable.