The Ad Council and R/GA created a pop culture moment in 2015 with the “Love Has No Labels” campaign and the heartwarming stunt featuring hugging skeletons—who were later revealed to be same-sex and interracial couples, those with disabilities, friends of different religions and more. Events of recent years, however, have shown that the implicit biases the campaign originally highlighted continue to plague society, so the push has now taken a proactive turn with “Love Lives On.”
The latest push features “The Gentle Giant," a seven-minute short film that premiered in June at the Cannes Lions and retells the personal story of George Floyd as a family man, mentor, and community member through the eyes of his sister, Bridgett.
Other films highlight individuals who have been involved with tragedies tied to various communities in recent years: another featuring Bridgett Floyd; Maddy Park, founder of a taxi service designed to help those in the Asian community as hate crimes surge; and Barbara Poma, owner of Orlando’s Pulse nightclub and founder of OnePulse Foundation, which honors the 49 victims of the 2016 shooting at her venue.
The films document the women’s deeply personal accounts and their missions to honor victims of hate crimes while also supporting their respective communities. All video components conclude with the campaign’s central message: “An act of love can have an impact that lives on.”
“In the face of hate and tragedy, it is love that leads to inspired actions that live on, driving the biggest changes in our society,” said Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council.
“As Bridgett, Maddy and Barbara show us in their stories, we all have the power to make a difference when we choose to act. We’re so honored that they trusted us to share their experiences—together, we will empower the public to take meaningful actions that create a more accepting and inclusive world,”
Since the debut of “Love has no labels” in 2015, the campaign has branched out in myriad ways. In February, it got Amazon’s Alexa to “define” love, it celebrated a diverse America with the help of John Cena and it partnered with StoryCorp to address the “toxic polarization” in America.
According to Lim, compared to previous pushes, “Love Lives on” pivots from awareness to action.
“Every incident, every person, every name [related to the surge of hate crimes since 2020] that we’ve spoken again and again, and the way we’ve remembered them, has, in a way, desensitized the society,” said JJ Lim, creative director of R/GA.
People “have forgotten how to love, and they’ve forgotten how to act," he added. "But we believe that this campaign has the underlying message that, the very simple thing every person can do [is] to help their neighbor, to love their neighbor, whether it’s a simple act of understanding a culture, understanding a person, going out to vote, going out to volunteer, going out to protest, using the right pronoun. With all these simple things, you don’t have to start a huge movement. You just have to act in very simple ways.”
As highlighted in the ads, the George Floyd Foundation has been distributing food and college scholarships in the community, while Park’s foundation has been raising funds to secure safer public transportation for minority groups.
The campaign was created and produced by a team led by R/GA New York SVP-Head of Creative Shannon Washington. Besides the short films, it includes audio assets developed pro bono by iHeartMedia. Numerous partners donated media, digital and social support.
“The organizations and issues highlighted in these films are by no means the only organizations or people tackling these issues, and we know many communities face a variety of forms of discrimination and bias in American society,” wrote Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council in a statement, noting that the platform leaves room to share the stories of other groups.
“The next stage is to ensure that proper changes are happening,” said Lim. “Ideally, this campaign ends, and there’ll be no more stories like this to tell.”