In celebration of the fourth anniversary of Love Has No Labels, the Ad Council joined Facebook and Great Big Story on the 12 February to premiere the first installment of an original Facebook Anthology showcasing real people from different backgrounds coming together during moments of crisis. The docuseries arrives on the heels of the campaign’s first-ever short film, “Rising,” which challenges viewers to consider why it takes a disaster to bring us together. Hosted by award-winning online personality and filmmaker Jay Shetty, the two-episode docuseries was produced by Great Big Story’s brand studio Courageous. Both episodes showcase moving first-person accounts that explore the deep, unexpected connections and long-lasting relationships formed during harrowing times. The series highlights the lessons we can learn from human behavior during disaster to ultimately act inclusively every day.
“While the immediate effects of hurricanes and other crises are devastating and heart-wrenching to witness, natural disasters are also unique in their ability to bring us together,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “The stories captured in this docuseries are an inspiring reminder that we have more in common than we are different.There’s so much to be gained from embracing our differences and engaging in dialogue—and there’s no better time to do so than now.”
“I’m so grateful and honored to be apart of such a meaningful series. We should not have to wait for a tragedy to come together, rather we should find unity in our diversity every day,” said storyteller Jay Shetty. “I’m positive that this series will serve as a great inspiration and motivation for us to grow, serve and thrive together.”
The first docuseries episode tells the story of Munira and Sara, a Muslim woman and Jewish woman who, despite their assumptions about each other’s communities, connected on Facebook in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and formed a long-lasting friendship. Viewers can watch it across Great Big Story’s digital and social footprint, as well as on Love Has No Labels and Jay ShettyFacebook pages. The second episode, set to air in March 2019, will showcase the friendship formed between Orlando-based reverends, Joel and Terri, a cis man and a gay woman, in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting.
“Our team of brand journalists sourced and produced these inspiring stories about real people who forged genuine friendships in the fire of crises,” said Otto Bell, chief creative officer of Courageous Studios. “These narratives remind us of our innate humanity because they connect with audiences on a deep, emotional level. As Great Big Story is a positive platform dedicated to changing the way we see the world, it was perfectly fitting to support the distribution of these stories as well.”
“It’s inspiring to see people use Facebook Groups to come together to love and support each other in times of need,” said Addie Marino, Global Prototype Lead on Facebook’s Creative Shop. “But what’s perhaps even more inspiring are the long-lasting friendships that have connected these communities to each together, making the world a little more inclusive each day.”
The docuseries directs audiences to LoveHasNoLabels.com, which features small actions people can take every day to create a more inclusive world and make others feel loved and accepted. The website highlights real people and real stories of love without labels to illustrate the power of acceptance and inclusion. Visitors can find conversations starters to help break down bias and connect based on who they really are instead of what others might assume based on appearances. Additional resources include a glossary of common terms related to diversity, bias and inclusion and self-reflection questions to help people recognize and reduce their own implicit biases.
In keeping with the campaign’s previous Valentine’s Day launches, Love Has No Labels is also partnering with Grammy-nominated pop artist Lukas Graham and Warner Bros. Records to celebrate all forms of love. Graham created a special, Love Has No Labels version of his music video for the hit song “Love Someone” to feature diverse couples, friends and families across race, age, gender, and sexual orientation. Viewers can watch the music video on the Love Has No Labels Facebook page beginning on February 14th.
The Love Has No Labels campaign launched nationally in 2015 with a video of skeletons dancing and embracing before coming out from behind an x-ray screen to reveal themselves as diverse couples, friends and families. The original “Love Has No Labels” video became the first PSA to win an Emmy® for Outstanding Commercial and received more than 169 million views, making it the second most viewed social activism video of all time.
In 2016, it was followed by “We Are America” featuring WWE® Superstar John Cena celebrating the diversity of America on Independence Day. In 2017, Love Has No Labels put a twist on the kiss cam by turning it into a symbol for unbiased love with “Fans of Love.” 2018 most recently followed with the release of “Rising,” a powerful short film that challenges Americans to consider, “Why does it take a disaster to bring us together?” It was directed by David Nutter (Emmy® Award-winning director of Game of Thrones)with a screenplay written by Lena Waithe and Azia Squire. In total, the campaign’s four videos have exceeded 350 million online views. The goal of the campaign has always been to elevate messages of diverse love to help erode implicit biases and promote acceptance across race, religion, gender, sexuality, ability and age. The latest film extends the campaign message further by encouraging people to take everyday actions to create a more inclusive community. Since the premiere of “Rising” in November, the short film has garnered more than 6.7 million views.
Since the launch of Love Has No Labels in March 2015 there have been over 3.5 million sessions on lovehasnolabels.com. And,significantly more adults agree that they can create a more accepting and inclusive environment (61% in 2015 to 75% in 2018), according to a survey commissioned by the Ad Council and conducted by Ipsos, Public Affairs. To date,the campaign has received more than $93 million in donated media.