Prepare to feel all of the feels—and have a box of tissues nearby—as you watch this PSA about bias and diversity from the Ad Council.
The poignant three-minute spot, for the "Love Has No Labels" campaign, hopes to shake people up and help them realize that everyone holds biases, even if they aren't aware of them. To illustrate this idea, the Ad Council and R/GA set up a giant X-ray screen in Santa Monica, Calif., on Valentine's Day, found real people of different genders, abilities and sexual orientations and had them perform little dances behind the screen.
At first, you're not quite sure what you're in for, as a pair of skeletons embrace. But just keep watching. It uses a sophisticated live setup by Persuade Content, part of Psyop, to deliver a powerful message that's bound to tug on even the grumpiest person's heartstrings.
As the people step out from behind the screen, the video captures some audience reactions. People appear to be caught off guard from the moment the first two kissing women poke their heads out to the end, when two young girls, each of a different race, embrace on stage. But that's the point.
The yearlong campaign, which extends online with stories and a quiz about bias, is designed to make people aware of their implicit biases—how we make snap judgments about others without even realizing it.
"We decided to take this on because we felt it was very important to encourage people, all Americans, to examine their unconscious biases," Ad Council president and CEO Lisa Sherman tells Adweek. "As much progress as we've made as a country, we absolutely still have more work to do."
Clearly, the PSA has already struck a chord with viewers.
Uploaded first to Upworthy's Facebook page on Monday, it now has more than 11 million views, 50,000 likes and 100,000-plus shares. Comments of strings of heart emojis and declarations of praise ("That's the most beautiful thing I've seen in a long time") show how the general public feels about the spot.
"I think what we have here is one of those moments in time where we have a great idea. There's a huge heart in the culture right now for these causes," Sherman says of the PSA, which will run in donated spots online and on TV. "You have an incredible piece of creative, and you tie that in with the 50th anniversary of Selma, and the stars are completely aligned."
The campaign also includes partnerships with eight nonprofits, including the Anti-Defamation League and Human Rights Campaign, so viewers can get more involved in a cause that speaks to them.
Client: Ad Council
Campaign: "Love Has No Labels"
Production Company: Persuade Content
Editorial & Postproduction Company: Brewster Parsons