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News March 6, 2015

Sometimes We Must Think Smaller to Design Bigger

Sometimes We Must Think Smaller to Design Bigger

An effective campaign today must be comprised of a number of things. It must be impactful, unexpected, unique, memorable, and it must resonate with audiences.  A great campaign must have a clear purpose, with a clearly conveyed message. Every once in a while we are fortunate to see a breakthrough campaign with an inspiringly simple approach that captures the hearts and minds of people everywhere.

This past Valentine’s Day we found just one of these.  In a work that was part interactive media and part performance art, the Ad Council took up residency on Santa Monica’s Third Street Promenade to shoot the Love Has No Labels campaign. The popular Southern California pedestrian mall was flooded with families, couples, Saturday-shoppers, tourists gathering in front of a mysterious stage with a giant projection screen. The location is famous for having various forms of entertainment and sometimes commercial filming, so naturally people stood by to see what entertainment might unfold.

Soon, green digital skeletons appeared on the screen.  Skeletons of various sizes and pairings embraced each other and danced, only to later step out from behind the screen. What at first had appeared to be fun and had people laughing transformed into a shining metaphor for shattering preconceptions, and a celebration of diversity and equality in love. The skeletons revealed themselves as real people from different religions, races, ages, and sexes, each driving home a subtly different but compelling message of Love.  The crowd was captivated and moved to applause, hugging one another, filming and sharing on social media, and even shedding a few tears. The complex message was delivered in a small local way, but was received and shared in very big, universal fashion.

The simplicity and poetic artistry of the Love Has No Labels campaign is the driving force behind its global appeal and effectiveness. The concept hit all key elements:  pure-of-heart, innovative in delivery, impactful and layered with strong emotional storytelling. The magic in its design helped it become a larger shared story than any one event or any small budget could buy. It’s living proof that a big idea can come from thinking small, and it’s experiential storytelling at its finest. 


Video courtesy of Ad Council YouTube

Written by Daryl McCullough, Chief Executive Officer & Global Chairman, Citizen Relations

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