The Ad Council’s Love Has No Labels and StoryCorps’ One Small Step Bring Americans Together One Conversation at a Time

The Ad Council announced a new partnership between its Emmy®-Award winning Love Has No Labels campaign and StoryCorps, the national nonprofit dedicated to recording, preserving, and sharing the stories of Americans of all backgrounds and beliefs. During a time when America is more divided than ever, listening is a powerful tool that reminds us of our shared humanity and can bring communities closer together and heal our nation. Developed in collaboration with creative agency Wordsworth+Booth and StoryCorps, the national PSA campaign drives audiences to lovehasnolabels.com/one-small-step for resources on how to have meaningful conversations and the ability to sign up to participate in the One Small Step program, the new StoryCorps initiative that brings together strangers of opposing political beliefs for a conversation about their lives.

The new campaign will include radio spots featuring meaningful conversations between individuals on different ends of an ideological spectrum, who develop new bonds and connect with each other by uncovering common ground. The multi-platform campaign also includes digital out-of-home and banners. The radio PSAs, digital out-of-home and banners will be distributed nationally per the Ad Council’s donated media model.

Listen to the PSAs: https://www.adcouncil.org/asset/where-people-are-coming-together/203598721

“There is profound value in engaging in conversation with one another to remind ourselves of our shared humanity and work towards a more united, empathetic world,” said Ad Council President and CEO Lisa Sherman. “We are so grateful to our partners at StoryCorps and Wordsworth+Booth for providing this incredible platform to help erode bias and find common ground based on who we truly are at heart, despite our identity labels.”

StoryCorps started in 2003 with the mission to create a culture of listening in America. More than 600,000 people have recorded their story. StoryCorps has perfected a method that brings people together for meaningful exchanges about their lives, beliefs and hopes and dreams for the future. All conversations are preserved (with participant permissions) in the StoryCorps archive at the American Folklife Center at the Library of Congress. The organization began piloting One Small Step in response to a growing climate of contempt and feelings of division. More than 1,000 people participated in the One Small Step pilot.

The campaign website features animated videos of real people who have participated in One Small Step, and conversation starters and tips on how you can foster meaningful conversations with others, even those who may have different political views, backgrounds and life experiences. Visitors to the website can also sign up to participate in a One Small Step conversation. Through these thoughtful and deep conversations, the campaign reminds us that conversations have the ability to reveal our shared humanity if we open ourselves up to share and listen. We all have an important role to play in creating a more united and accepting nation; it starts with harnessing the power of conversation.

Dave Isay, Founder and President of StoryCorps, said, “By bringing together strangers of different perspectives to have courageous and meaningful conversations about their lives, One Small Step helps to decrease feelings of contempt across political divides, allowing Americans to see one another as human beings. We have developed a proven method to address the toxic polarization in this country, and we are excited to work with our partners to help remind the country that it’s our patriotic duty to see the humanity in those with whom we may disagree.”

StoryCorps piloted One Small Step starting in 2018. One Small Step is made possible by the generous support of the Fetzer Institute, The Hearthland Foundation, the William and Flora Hewlett Foundation, the Corporation for Public Broadcasting, and the Charles Koch Institute.

“Talking (and listening) to one another has never been more important” said Wordsworth+Booth President Tony Mennuto. “We are thrilled to help spread that message and inspire countless Americans to listen to the eye-opening One Small Step conversations and take the next step of having their own.”

Love Has No Labels’ brand partners include Bank of America, Google/YouTube, Johnson & Johnson, State Farm® and Walmart. Non-profit partners who continue to be instrumental in lending their expertise and support to the Love Has No Labels campaign include: AARP, American Immigration Council (AIC), Anti-Defamation League (ADL), Human Rights Campaign (HRC), Disability: IN, National Women’s Law Center (NWLC) and Unidos US.

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.” The campaign launched its first short film in 2018 with “Rising,” written by Lena Waithe (The Chi, Master of None) and directed by David Nutter (Game of Thrones), asking the question, “why does it take a disaster to bring us together?” In June 2020 Love Has No Labels took a clear stance against racial injustice with “Fight For Freedom,” revealing the stark contrast of the simple freedoms that many take for granted and the systemic racism Black people face every day in America. In July 2020, the campaign launched “Fight the Virus. Fight the Bias.” to combat hateful rhetoric that the API community is experiencing amid COVID-19. In total, the campaign’s six videos have exceeded 390 million online views.

Since the Love Has No Labels campaign’s initial video launched in March 2015 there have been over 13.5 million U.S. 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 75% in June 2020), according to a survey commissioned by the Ad Council and conducted by Ipsos Public Affairs. To date, the campaign has received more than $120 million in donated media.

To learn more about the Love Has No Labels and StoryCorps partnership, visit lovehasnolabels.com/one-small-step and join the campaign’s social communities on Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

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