The Ad Council, R/GA, and an unprecedented group of brand partners today premiered Rising, a short film that is a powerful extension of the iconic Love Has No Labels campaign. The film was directed by Game of Thrones‘ David Nutter and written by Lena Waithe creator of SHOWTIME drama series The Chi and Emmy winning writer for Master of None and Azia Squire. It features the immediate aftermath of a massive storm and challenges viewers to consider why it takes a disaster to bring us together. The film pays tribute to real moments when people from different backgrounds have come together following natural disasters. Rising hopes to encourage all Americans to come together and ultimately inspire people to act inclusively every day.
“Rising is a poignant and powerful film that takes us back to where we started with Love Has No Labels, reminding everyone to see each other as humans above all else,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “In moments of disaster, our capacity for good is limitless and we cast our differences aside to support one another. This film will inspire people to bring that innate humanity into their daily actions and create a more inclusive world.”
Rising reflects research which shows that catastrophes have one of the most profoundly unifying effects on people.1,2 The dramatic short film created pro bono by R/GA with Great Guns and VFX by Ntropic, follows a group of diverse Americans facing a devastating storm. A closing montage features photos of real disaster survivors coming together regardless of race, religion, gender, sexual orientation, ability and age. The film challenges viewers to carry an innate capacity to love one another into their daily lives through small acts of inclusion.
“We live in a time of tribalism. Rising is a story about shifting the way we communicate,” said director David Nutter. “Through this film we want people to go from being defensive of those who are different to accepting and embracing our differences.”
“So excited to be involved,” said screenwriter Lena Waithe. “We need stories like this that bring people together, especially now.”
The film also featured an impressive production team including cinematographer Peter Menzies Jr, hair and makeup artist Cyndi Reece, Emmy-nominated stunts professional Eddie Perez, Emmy-nominated sound designer Tim Hays, and music supervisor Akila Robinson.
As a launch partner, SHOWTIME will air the film on air and on demand. Clear Channel Outdoor is supporting the campaign by showing Rising and the creative assets on billboards across the country. National CineMedia will run the film trailers in theaters across the country. iHeartRadio will promote the film with messages of support from top artists airing on stations nationwide. Rising also can be viewed on the Love Has No Labels website and social channels.
The integrated campaign will also receive donated media, digital and social support from partners including: Amazon, AT&T, Bloomberg, Business Insider, CW for Good, Daily Mail, Esquire, Facebook, FiveTier, FOX Networks Group, GSTV, iTell.io/Vistar Media, Nativo, The New York Times, Oath, PopSugar, Sharethrough, Sony Crackle, Spotify, Upworthy, USA Today, Xandr, YouTube and others. Publicis Media worked pro bono to develop a media strategy and secure targeted donated media placements to extend the campaign’s reach.
The campaign’s brand partners, Bank of America, Budweiser, The Coca-Cola Company, Google, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, P&G, State Farm®, Unilever and Wells Fargo are supporting Rising by promoting content across their channels. In addition to funding the campaign, brand partners show their support during the year through online and offline activations including, social messaging, custom content creation, employee engagement, events and more.
The Love Has No Labels campaign first 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.” In total, the campaign’s three videos have exceeded 350 million online views. The goal of the campaign has always been to elevate messages of unbiased love to 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.
“Rising is based on the observation that the worst of mother nature can bring out the best in human nature,” said Eric Jannon, VP, Executive Creative Director of R/GA. “We wanted to show that while devastating, natural disasters like hurricanes wash away prejudices and often result in people stepping up, without hesitation, to help those they don’t know – and in some cases are prejudiced against.”
“This platform leverages a team of influential creators to spread a powerful and timely message about diversity and inclusivity. There are so many powerful stories that fed into this film and while it’s about a disaster, it’s ultimately about love,” said Chris Northam, VP, Executive Creative Director of R/GA. “Some of the crew previously volunteered in disaster areas – their experience was invaluable and added a level of authenticity to the story. We want Rising to unify communities around America – permeating the hearts and minds of viewers to help eliminate unconscious biases.”
An accompanying series of short videos produced by Facebook as an Anthology Partnership will tell the stories of people coming together after recent disasters and moments of crises. The videos will explore the power of community and the longstanding relationships and deep connections that are forged during harrowing times. The series will launch on Facebook early next year.
The fully integrated campaign includes support and activations from key partners including social platforms and publishers. Situation Interactive, a digital-first marketing agency, will also help extend the Love Has No Labels message through social activations on the campaign’s social communities.
The campaign 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. Built by Viget, a creative digital innovation agency, the website also highlights real people and real stories of love without labels to illustrate the power of acceptance and inclusion. Visitors can also 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. People will also be able to contribute to the Hurricanes Michael and Florence relief efforts on our website.
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. The campaign and the website tap into the expertise of six leading non-profit organizations including, Anti-Defamation League, Southern Poverty Law Center, Human Rights Campaign, American Association of People with Disabilities, AARP and Perception Institute.
Since the campaign’s initial video launched in March 2015 there have been over 4.3 million sessions on lovehasnolabels.com. Since the launch of the campaign, significantly more adults agree that they can create a more accepting and inclusive environment (61% in March 2015 to 72% in June 2018), according to a survey commissioned by the Ad Council and conducted by Ipsos, Public Affairs. To date, the campaign has received more than $88 million in donated media.