With Liberty and. . . Justice for All, Pleads Print Campaign

Williams Whittle Associates will break a print and outdoor campaign on behalf of The Liberty Project in March. The work aims to inform people about the abuses of power the Federal government has committed in the course of fighting the drug trade and organized crime.
The Liberty Project was founded in 1997 to preserve civil rights and push for reforms in laws that allow Federal agencies enforcement powers with little accountability. Not surprisingly, there have been abuses, and those form the crux of the Alexandria, Va., agency’s work.
The first ad that will break, “Toe Tag,” shows the bare foot of a corpse in a morgue. The tag goes beyond identifying the deceased, telling the story of how a man named Donald Scott died when Federal agents mistakenly broke into his house thinking he was a drug dealer. In the course of the incident, Scott was killed. The final line reads: “Unlike Donald, the police are alive and well today.”
“There were so many examples we could have used in the campaign,” said creative leader Kai Fang. “The idea behind the laws is to get drug dealers off the street, but what do you say to that man’s wife? Good intent, bad aim?”
Other print pieces tell similar stories. In one a man buys a $24,000 boat, only to have it seized during a drug raid. After agents had wrecked the ship beyond repair in a fruitless search for contraband, the buyer had to sell it for scrap, with no recourse. Another ad talks about a family whose SUV, money and possessions were seized while on vacation and held for weeks, again by mistake.
The ads were set to break at the beginning of the year when Rep. Henry Hyde was to introduce a bill to make law enforcement authorities more accountable for their actions. That was postponed by Hyde’s prominent role in the impeachment trial of President Clinton.
With the bill now scheduled to be introduced in early March, the agency will mount outdoor messages around airports used by legislators flying in and out of Washington, D.C. There will also be spot newspaper buys in communities with voter bases sympathetic to the client’s cause.
Credits go to agency creative partner Cathy Seay and Fang, who served as art director and copywriter.