Droga5 and Meek Mill Amplify the Voices of Prisoners Facing Covid-19 Risks Behind Bars

Reform Alliance recorded real calls with inmates who say they can't socially distance

Reform Alliance campaign raises awareness of Covid-19 risk to prisoners. Reform Alliance/Droga5

Droga5 has used the voices of real prisoners in a powerful new campaign to raise awareness of the coronavirus risk to inmates living in communal conditions for the Reform Alliance.

“Answer Their Call” aims to sound the alarm that Covid-19 can “turn a prison sentence into a death sentence” for inmates who say they are unable to socially distance due to prison living conditions.

It features 23 unscripted, recorded phone calls of real, concerned prisoners across more than a dozen institutions. The campaign aims to encourage people to share the content and sign a petition calling on officials to take action to make prisons safer.

According to the Reform Alliance, a majority of coronavirus hotspots in the US have been linked to high rates of infection inside prisons–with up to 80% of prisoners testing positive in one institution.

The campaign will “hijack” people’s social feeds with the hashtag #AnswerTheirCall in order to generate empathy for prisoners in the U.S.–a majority of whom, the organization said, have been incarcerated for minor offenses.

Kicking off the campaign, hip-hop artist and Reform Alliance co-chair Meek Mill dropped a hotline number (833-229-8300) on his social platforms on Tuesday.  When people call the number they will hear a real recorded phone call with an inmate.

Callers will then receive a follow up text prompting them to take action by sharing the #AnswerTheirCall audio files to amplify the voices of inmates. The audio is also live across Reform’s social channels.

Droga5 said other “partners” will post phone call recordings throughout the campaign, though the agency has kept the identity of those people under wraps for now. A new, emotive film will also launch Monday.

“All of these people are worthy of redemption; we should be helping them as they work to turn their lives around–not allowing them to die in a cage,” the agency said.

Client: Reform Alliance
Agency: Droga5 NY
Creative chairman: David Droga
Global chief creative officer: Neil Heymann
Co-chief creative officer: Tim Gordon
Co-chief creative officer: Felix Richter
Group creative director: Toby Treyer-Evans
Group creative director: Laurie Howell
Copywriter: Stacy-Ann Ellis
Art director: Oscar Gierup
Designer: Mike Gaynor
Group experience design director: Craig Wong
Chief creation officer: Sally-Ann Dale
Director of film production: Jesse Brihn
Senior producer, film: Isabella Lebovitz
Associate producer, film: Kenya Agunloye
Music supervisor: Mike Ladman
Director of interactive production: Tasha Cronin
Producer, interactive: Colin Neff
Associate producer, interactive: Lauren Williams
Director of business affairs: Dan Simonetti
Associate director of business affairs: Tom Venditelli
Talent manager: Sunny Valencia
Global chief strategy officer: Jonny Bauer
Head of strategy: Harry Román-Torres
Strategy director: Gabriela Avila
Junior brand strategist: Mykala Daniel
Head of communications strategy: Dean Challis
Group comm strategy director: Samantha Deevy
Senior communications strategist: Paulina Liang
Communications strategist: Molly Klein
Group data strategy director: Lily Ng
Senior data strategist: Jessica Duncan
Group account director: Sharif El Rabiey
Account director: Ashton Atlas
Account manager: Cameron Yates
Project manager: Damaris Giha
Client: Reform Alliance
Chief executive officer: Van Jones
President and chief growth officer: Bob Pilon
Senior director, creative campaigns: Meagan Bond
Consultant: Louis Reed
Editorial: Second Child
Managing director: Scott Chinn
Senior producer: Sara Mills
Editor: When it’s Over Nina Sacharow
Editor: Reform Redirect Victor Hermosillo
Assistant editor: Andrew Davenport
Grade: Company3
Producer: Alex Lubrano
Colourist: Sofie Borup
Conform / finishing: Significant Others
Executive producer: Sarah Roebuk
Producer: Kyra Hendricks
Sound: Wave Studios
Audio engineer: Aaron Reynolds
Executive producer: Vicky Ferraro.

@saramayspary sara.spary@adweek.com Sara Spary is a freelance journalist based in London. She's been a reporter for eight years, covering advertising and consumer brands.