On July 15, 1960, John F. Kennedy accepted the Democratic nomination for president in Los Angeles. During his speech, he aimed to inspire Americans with talk of a “new frontier,” one filled with “unconquered pockets of ignorance and prejudice” that require perseverance and courage to move the country forward.
Now, 60 years later, it’s easy to draw parallels between then and now as the U.S. grapples with the continued spread of the novel coronavirus and the reinvigoration of the Black Lives Matter movement. In hopes of using the late president’s words to inspire Americans today, the John F. Kennedy Presidential Library and Museum Foundation recently debuted a campaign that asks people to share their vision for a better country.
A TV spot directs viewers to a website where they can take to Twitter to do so. The ad will run throughout Boston, where the library is located, this summer.
It’s unlikely that many people will actually partake in the social push, but it could inspire people to think about Kennedy’s words in the context of today and take action. Created by The Martin Agency, the campaign follows a similar one unveiled in 2018 called “Words Count” that turned the 35th president’s quotes into tweets.
“Twitter has incredible real-time reach and is a natural platform to spark discussion, which fuels the purpose of this campaign: to drive engagement,” Cecelia Parrish, planning director at The Martin Agency, said. “Much like the last campaign, we liked leveraging a social platform that is too often used to create division. Instead, we utilized it for good, to inspire and motivate people to share their vision for our collective future.”
Because of Covid-19, the JFK Library is currently closed. However, Parrish said the goal of the campaign isn’t “to drive traffic to the library but to truly inspire them with his words so they take action in shaping what the future of this country looks like.”
Rachel Flor, executive director at JFK Library, said it’s “always been more” than just a physical space.
“While the building is closed—and during a time of historic challenges—we feel it’s more important than ever to find new ways to make the history of the Kennedy administration and President Kennedy’s example of leadership available to new generations,” she said.
Last year, JFK Library worked with Digitas to create an augmented reality app that commemorated the 50th anniversary of Apollo 11 and the role President Kennedy played in helping the U.S. land on the moon.