Case Study: Love Has No Labels Campaign

Love Has No Labels Campaign

Campaign Title: Love Has No Labels

Background of the Specific Problem

The mission of Love Has No Labels Campaign:

We believe we all have the ability to create a more inclusive world. Learn about the small actions you can take every day to make others feel loved and accepted. (1)

Love Has No Labels (LHNL) is a PSA by Ad Council initially launched in 2015 with a video of skeletons dancing, kissing, embracing each other on the large black screen before the public. Skeletons move to the edge of the screen and appear from behind as real people, revealing their diverse identity, through friendship, family, love. Huffington Post Contributor Cameron Keady writes: “There are few images more evocative of the human body than a skeleton. But it’s easy to disassociate this image with actual people. In the “Love Has No Labels” PSA, the skeleton is used as a symbolic reminder that — simply put — we’re all human, despite our varying identities. The yearlong initiative aims to call out some of our latent biases and prejudices.” (2)

According to LHNL website, “[o]ur implicit associations are stored in our subconscious — where we do 98% of our thinking. Unfortunately, this means that we may act on our biases without even realizing it. Often, our implicit biases contradict what we think and believe. This can create situations that make it difficult for people to find a job, secure a loan, get a fair trial, or simply go about everyday activities.” (3) The video received over 169 million views making it one of the most watched social media activism videos of all time. It also won an Emmy in the category of Outstanding Commercial. (4) LHNL is a movement that promotes acceptance and inclusion across race, religion, gender, sexual orientation and ability. (5)

Description of the Target Audience

Campaign target audience is the diverse general audience of the United States. “The aim [of this campaign is] to combat bias, by flooding culture with messages that are inherently non-bias. [The aim is] to normalize all types of love and relationships simply by integrating these types of love into the content they produce.” (6)

Formative Research

The results of the dancing skeleton video campaign and other LHNL activities show significant increase in public own effort to become more accepting and create inclusive environment. The survey conducted by Imsos, Public Affairs and commissioned by Ad Council shows and increase from 61% in March 2015 (before the video was released) to  72% in June 2018. Campaign has received $88 million in donated media. (5)

While it has been difficult to obtain any publicly available formative research, conducted before the campaign implementation, it is also important to note that PSA in-itself is a form of a formative research. The execution of the installation immerse observers in the experience. Those who choose to participate become a part of that experiment. The campaign website includes a number of scripts that help the audience to engage with each other, overcome differences and find common ground.  Learn about implicit bias and conduct self-reflection to recognize the bias within self. The guidelines are downloadable PDFs that can be utilized within a company, classroom setting, a focus group, or at home with the family. Provided by non-profit partnerships, these resourceful guides provide creative guidelines to help the audience overcome bias and become more inclusive and create accepting spaces. (7)

Love Has No Labels Community Activation Kit

R/GA an innovative marketing agency website says: “According to the Perception Institute, most Americans consider themselves unprejudiced. However research shows, that many of us unintentionally make snap judgements about others. (8) The implicit bias awareness allows people to minimize their prejudice. The online toolkits allows the campaign to connect with audience through participation (sharing of posts, photos and experiences) and educate communities, organizations and individuals on how to overcome implicit bias and minimize prejudice.

This guide is designed to help audience facilitate discussions and activities around bias and inclusion. By respecting diversity and encouraging others to reflect on their biases, this campaigns helps create more empathetic and inclusive communities. (9) In addition it provides “Actions to Take Online” kit to promote the awareness for implicit bias and how to respond to bias and prejudice online.  

The Community Activation Kit provides a list of concise instructions for facilitators to setup a discussion and conduct activities to help the audience connect, to re-direct or rethink personal implicit bias. The guide explains how to conduct an activity to identify the labels and rise above those labels through commonality between the audience in participation. A two-step community wall activity asks participants to write or to artistically express themselves and who they are, followed by posting the piece on the wall, demonstrating to common interests, values and goals of the participants.

As one of the final steps of the activity to generate a community action plan, the activation kit guidelines suggest to create a physical space (a wall, a bulletin board, etc.) to demonstrate commitment to diversity, inclusion and share examples of how inclusivity can be achieved or impact them personally.

Sample Bulletin Board:

Community Activation Kit Sample Bulletin Board

Main Campaign Message Overview

“Before anything else, we’re all human.” The original LHNL video reminds us that underneath our skin we are all the same we are people who want to live, love, be loved and be accepted for who we are. (10)

▶️ Watch YouTube Video:

Project Evaluation

LHNL is an interactive installation (sender sends a message and receiver reacts to the message). Further Interactivity is obtained throughout social media channels (Facebook, Twitter, Instagarm) comprehensive website that provides tools and guidelines to overcome implicit bias. In addition to the digital channels, LHNL has partnered with large corporations and non-profit organizations to spread the message using their channels. Through this interactive information exchange, the campaign is able to evaluate its effectiveness.

When the first lady of the United States, Michelle Obama retweeted the video to her followers, the objective of this campaign “mass awareness of the implicit bias” was declared to be achieved. (8) This social awareness integrated campaign initially launched to a community of 8 million consumers. (8) According to statistics listed on R/ the PSA within 24 hours of its release was viewed 11 million times and has broken a record of success as a PSA campaign. In two days the video attracted 40 million views, reached 162 million combined views and 2.6 million shares across social media platforms and was liked approximately 1.8 million times. (8) High profile broadcast coverage, such as ABC’s World News Tonight, Good Morning America, CNN, and NBC, increased campaign’s media impressions to over two billion media impressions. Other influential media coverage included The Wall Street Journal, The New York Times, The Washington Post, The Chicago Tribune, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, The Hollywood Reporter, Mashable, Adweek, Ad Age, The Independent, The Guardian, The Mirror, Cambio, Le Monde, Daily Mail, BuzzFeed, Cosmopolitan, Forbes, and many others (8)

Love Has No Labels Campaign Non profit Partners and Official Partners

Assessment of Theoretical Application

According to Communication Theory website “Our cultural understanding of the world and everything in it ultimately affects our style of communication as we start picking up ways of one’s culture at around the same time we start learning to communicate. Culture influences the words we speak and our behavior.” (11) Since the launch of its viral LHNL video, this campaign became a movement, changing people’s perceptions, challenging their bias, while opening their minds. Communication style of this ongoing campaign closely resembles Cross Cultural Communication. The Cross Cultural Communication approach is further explained: “Cross cultural communication… refers to the communication between people who have differences in any one of the following: styles of working, age, nationality, ethnicity, race, gender, sexual orientation, etc. Cross cultural communication can also refer to the attempts that are made to exchange, negotiate and mediate cultural differences by means of language, gestures and body language. It is how people belonging to different cultures communicate with each other.” (11) The LHNL video example embodies the Cross Cultural Communication and enables people to face their bias, while providing unique outlook.

Work Cited

  1. Ad Council. Homepage. Love Has No Labels. [Online] [Cited: February 13, 2019.]
  2. Keady, Cameron. Giant X-Ray Screen Erases Gender, Age, Race to Prove ‘We Are All Human’. Huffington Post. [Online] 03 04, 2018.
  3. Ad Council. Ordinary acts of love can lead to extraordinary amounts of change. Love Has No Labels. [Online]
  4. Fisher, Ellyn. Press Release. Ad Council. [Online] 11 13, 2018. [Cited: February 13, 2019.]
  5. Ad Council. About. Love Has No Labels. [Online] [Cited: February 13, 2019.]
  6. R/GA. Fans of Love. R/GA Transformation at Speed. [Online] 2019. [Cited: February 13, 2019.]
  7. Ad Council. Learn how to Promote Inclusion in Your Everyday Life. Love Has No Labels. [Online] [Cited: February 13, 2019.]
  8. R/GA. Case Study: Love Has No Labels. R/GA Transformation at Speed. [Online] [Cited: February 13, 2019.]
  9. Ad Council. Community Activation Kit. Love Has No Labels. [Online] [Cited: February 13, 2019.]
  10. Ad Council. Before Anything Else, We’re All Human. Love Has No Labels. [Online] [Cited: February 13, 2019.]
  11. Communication Theory. Cross Cultural Communication. Communication Theory. [Online] [Cited: February 13, 2019.]

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