The Ad Council has launched Belonging Begins With Us, a national campaign dedicated to fostering a more welcoming nation where everyone feels that they belong, regardless of their background or where they were born. The effort is supported by a broad coalition of foundations, corporations and non-profit organizations working to strengthen connections and promote belonging in communities across the country.
Created pro bono by ad agency Pereira O’Dell, the public service advertisements (PSAs) feature a new cover of the 1968 hit song “Walk a Mile in My Shoes,” recorded exclusively for the campaign by Lake Street Dive. The song and powerful visuals remind audiences that we all know what it feels like to be left out—and for people who moved to this country, that feeling can last more than a moment. By highlighting this shared emotional experience, the creative sparks empathy and build stronger bonds between everyone who calls America home.
“Belonging Begins With Us reminds us that we all have the power to make others feel safe and welcome in our communities,” said Lisa Sherman, Ad Council President and CEO. “We are grateful to our partners for helping us all build more meaningful connections in our neighborhoods, cities and towns, regardless of background or country of origin.”
“We were thrilled to contribute music to this campaign because the spirit of it is embedded in our very livelihood,” said Lake Street Dive. “We travel the whole country performing for folks brought together from all backgrounds and countries of origin in order to listen to American music—and music is one of the most powerful ways we can all make connections across our differences.”
The campaign was developed by the Ad Council, American Immigration Council and Welcoming America with financial support from the Carnegie Corporation, the Chan Zuckerberg Initiative, Einhorn Collaborative, Ford Foundation, FWD.us Education Fund and Stand Together. Additional partners who will share the campaign’s message and promote belonging in communities across the country include the American Alliance of Museums, the Council for Christian Colleges & Universities, Hello Neighbor, Looking for America, New American Economy, Over Zero, the Trust for Public Land, Western States Center, YMCA of the USA and Walmart Inc.
Belonging Begins With Us PSAs will appear nationwide in time and space donated by the media across TV, radio, digital, print and out-of-home placements. AdTheorent, Facebook, Google/YouTube, State Farm and Walmart Media Group are among the platforms which have already committed to amplifying the campaign. ENGINE, a full-service creative and media agency, donated strategy and outreach services.
“Being an immigrant myself and having spoken to lots of other immigrants from various countries, I speak firsthand when I say the introduction into this country can be really overwhelming,” said PJ Pereira, Co-Founder and Creative Chairman of Pereira O’Dell. “Every gesture of kindness and inclusion can make a meaningful and lasting impact that will shape your entire life here. Sometimes the smallest action can be the most profound, and that is what we set out to convey in our creative approach.”
The PSAs direct audiences to the campaign website, BelongingBeginsWithUs.org, which features dozens of real stories of belonging from across the country. Built by Viget, a creative digital innovation agency, the website also highlights actions people can take to help others in their community feel that they belong.