Responses by Amy Tunick, VP of operations & activation, news content partnerships, WarnerMedia
Background: The purpose of this project was to highlight the importance of equal gender representation. CNN’s brand studio Courageous Studios and Hulu set out to show how underrepresented women are in history by spotlighting the unequal number of male versus female statues in major cities across the country. We did this on Women’s Equality Day, which celebrates the passage of the 19th Amendment, granting women the right to vote.
Reasoning: We hoped that by producing “invisible” statues, made of reflective mirror material, passersby would see how fleeting the representation of women can be. Our goal for the Shape the Future art installation was that people of all backgrounds would walk away with the realization that while the past cannot be changed, we can all participate in efforts to “shape the future.”
Favorite details: The decision to use the double-sided mirror material. The statues were mirrored to symbolize the potential for today’s women to shape history. From a distance, the statues looked invisible to dramatize how fleeting women’s representation can be, but anyone who walked closer saw themselves in the statues. The mirrors helped create a positive and inclusive experience that represented everyone, while also demonstrating that gender equality is short-lived.
We are also proud of the uniform shape of each statue—rather than hone in on specific women, we worked with an artist to design a shape that looked female but was intentionally abstract to represent all women. And finally, we are proud of the work we did to execute the art installation in the specific venue locations—Flatiron Plaza in New York, Faneuil Hall in Boston, The Ferry Building in San Francisco and Peachtree Plaza in Atlanta.
Time constraints: We had minimal time to set up each installation. This required advance planning and a detail-oriented production team that could set up the activation in alignment with the permits and venue contracts. For instance, in New York we were able to get into Flatiron Plaza at 12:01 a.m. on the date of our activation, so we had multiple teams unloading, marking and lining up the statues so their reflections would create an optimal consumer experience. We were also filming these activations, and our film crew had to source specific locations to ensure great footage. Limited set up time is always a challenge, but we made it work!
Alternative approach: We would have loved to have kept the art installations live in each market for more than one day, enabling greater awareness of Hulu and Courageous’ support around issues of gender inequality and more opportunities for individuals to experience the installation in each market. We also wish we could have done this in more cities. If we were to start the project over, we might also consider aligning with influencers to support us and reach an even greater number of people.