Branding the Next Pro-Choice Generation

Campaign marks 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade

It would have been more predictable if Naral Pro-Choice America chose to commemorate the 40th anniversary of Roe v. Wade—the historical Supreme Court decision that affirmed a woman's right to an abortion—the Washington way, with issue-driven rhetoric in message ads directed at lawmakers and lobbyists. It didn't. Instead, its campaign from Washington-based Gmmb is a branding effort focused on the women who will make up the movement's next 40 years.

At the center of the campaign is a three-minute video called simply "40" (see the full video below). After a quick nod to the past with Walter Cronkite's very recognizable voice delivering the news of the Supreme Court's decision on Jan. 22, 1973, the stop-motion film launches into beautifully shot photographs of 40 different women representing a cross-section of diverse religious, racial and economic backgrounds shot by 40 photographers, all artfully synced to the song "40 Winks," written and produced by Marla and Tone Def.

"This is different from anything we've ever done," said Amy Everitt, the national campaign director for Choice Out Load and the state director of Naral Pro-Choice California. "This is not messaging; this is engagement."

From the beginning, Jeff Martin, Gmmb's creative director, knew he wanted to use stop-motion film for the video. "They're an advocacy group, but they're also a brand. Every brand has to bring new people into the fold. The millennial audience is more People magazine, less Politico, so it's about visuals and soundbites. I wanted something offbeat, a little different," Martin said.

"Naral Pro-Choice knows how to chase policy. On this campaign, they stepped back and let the photographers interpret the brand," he added.

Martin said he had no trouble finding photographers to donate their time. What started out as a search for four photographers almost instantly grew to 40 when he got more than 20 photographers to commit on the day he began making calls.

Photographers from advertising, fashion, editorial and politics each shot between 60-80 frames with loose parameters for cropping and a dark background; subjects were shot waist-high. New York-based Framestore took the thousands of images and gave it an artful, yet approachable look. Interspersed throughout the images are opinions from subjects about how they feel about the pro-choice political position.

"It's not our mother's movement anymore, it's ours," said one of the young women in the film.

"That's the guiding light of this campaign," said Everitt.

The film, located on the campaign's website, has all the pieces to encourage social sharing, reflecting the campaign's subtitle: "Every Decision Has a Story." Banner ads on Facebook, Google and YouTube were placed to drive clickthroughs. The campaign also has an offline component, partnering with groups at 39 college campuses.

"It's a loyalty platform to build the bridge between the audience's values and political action," Everitt said.