In recent years, the world of advertising has been taking important steps forward in an attempt to do away with social prejudice. While there is always backlash, that hasn’t stopped companies from making important points about inclusion and acceptance in their ads. However, this most recent campaign did something truly astonishing — it found a way to strip all that lingering prejudice away, leaving nothing but love… and bones.
Before you get scared, let me explain. The “Love Has No Labels” campaign centers around a TV spot that was created from genuine crowd reactions to a live installation on Valentine’s Day. A large screen was set up in Los Angeles that couples, friends and families could go behind and hug, kiss, dance or do whatever made them feel happy and loved. The kicker was that the screen was actually showing an x-ray image of them, so when they kissed or hugged, it just looked like two skeletons kissing and hugging. This literal stripping away of gender, race, size, etc., allowed for people to finally see and be seen without a biased lens in the way, because everyone is the same without their skin on. See for yourself:
I don’t know about you, but I’m officially a ball of joyous tears. This ad will air in March, but in the meantime, you can find out more about the campaign on their interactive website. The Ad Council is at the helm of the idea, and its president, Lisa Sherman, explains their strategy to Adage: “Engaging communities of people felt very important to our strategy.” She’s talking specifically about R/GA, the digital shop that helped sculpt the campaign’s online presence, and interactive nature.
If you go on the “Love Has No Labels” website, you’ll see you can take a quiz that evaluates your own level of prejudice of which you may not even be remotely aware. The goal here is to make people mindful of their “implicit bias,” hopefully help them to recognize the behavior, and do something to correct it in themselves and others.
“Implicit bias refers to the way people unconsciously and sometimes unwillingly exhibit bias towards other individuals and groups,” said Rachel Godsil, co-founder and director of research at the Perception Institute to Adage. After you take the quiz, you’ll be directed toward a number of organizations battling discrimination that you can learn more about and help. Some of these include: the Anti-Defamation League, National Women’s Law Center, Human Rights Campaign, American Association of People with Disabilities, American-Arab Anti-Discrimination Committee, Muslim Advocates and AARP.
While it’s common for such campaigns to debut around months of specific social consciousness, like LGBT Pride Month, the Ad Council is hoping to make “Love Has No Labels” an always relevant idea. The companies backing the PSA have agreed to broadcast the message across their social media platforms so that people won’t be sure who started it — which will hopefully further promote this unifying aspect of the whole campaign.
Try watching the video again now that you know what it’s really saying. Then hopefully, the next time you see a couple kissing, and your mind jumps to an unnecessary bias, you’ll remember you look exactly the same underneath your skin. Join the conversation at #LoveHasNoLabels.