The Ad Council’s long-running “Love Has No Labels” campaign directly addresses the Black Lives Matter movement and protests against police violence with a new spot out today. It juxtaposes the freedoms Americans are supposed to be able to take for granted with the deaths and harassment of Black people during innocuous and innocent activities.
A billowing flag, shady streets, the Statue of Liberty—these symbols of Americana give way to everyday acts, like jogging along an empty road, sleeping in a bed or wearing a hoodie, references to Ahmaud Arbery, Breonna Taylor, Trayvon Martin and many other Black people killed by police or other Americans as they tried to go about their lives.
The litany ends by invoking the death of Eric Garner, whose famous last words “I can’t breathe” have become a rallying cry for the movement—and were echoed with futile desperation by George Floyd as a white police officer kneeled on his neck.
Scenes from street protests against systemic racism and violence follow, with activists holding signs and marching, still masked in the midst of a pandemic. The spot ends with an expansion of their call to action: “All lives can’t matter, until Black lives matter.”
“We are educated to believe that 'freedom' is afforded to all Americans. This isn't true. We wanted to highlight the freedoms that the privileged masses take for granted. To truly achieve 'freedom' and take on the disproportionate systematic racism targeted at the Black community, we must all take action," said Aaron Harridge, a strategist at partner agency R/GA, in a statement.
“For brands, companies, and people that choose to stand behind our message, know that activating allyship is a journey,” added R/GA Strategist Brandon Heard. “This is just the beginning of what it looks like to turn privilege into power and to employ that power in an effort to advance the culture of diversity, equity and inclusion."