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R/GA’s latest iteration of its “Love Has No Labels” campaign for the Ad Council questions why it takes catastrophes like natural disasters to get people to put aside their bigotries and just help each other.
In today’s polarizing culture, when President Donald Trump is tweeting about “gross mismanagement of the forests” while the death toll from California’s devastating wildfires rises, this short film, “Rising,” by David Nutter, who earned a 2015 Emmy for his work on the HBO series Game of Thrones, and written by Showtime’s The Chi creator Lena Waithe, who received an Emmy for her work on Netflix’s Master of None, seems more vital than ever.
“In the wake of disasters like Hurricane Florence and Hurricane Michael, and now the wildfires in California, the stories of neighbors helping neighbors are incredibly inspiring and truly emphasize that we don’t need to wait for times like this to love, accept and support one another,” Ad Council CEO and president Lisa Sherman said in an email to Nitro-Net. Sherman added that the film is based on real accounts of people who have risked their lives to rescue their neighbors in natural disasters. “This film is powerful, poignant and timely and, as with all ‘Love Has No Labels’ content, we hope it will inspire and unite people,” she said.
In the film, biases introduced early on are literally washed away with the arrival of a devastating storm that threatens the lives of one of the characters and his family.
Nutter told Nitro-Net in an email that it was critical for the film to be “universal” and allow the audience to form their own opinions of the characters.
“It was important to set up this world and show what the neighborhood is like prior to that and then seeing how all the characters come together to help each other,” Nutter said. “It’s surprisingly emotional because we can see ourselves in these characters, no matter whose perspective or point of view you are in.”
Sherman said she hopes “Rising” inspires people to check their biases and consider how “they can act more inclusively every day.”
The film ends with a montage of photos of real people coming together during natural disasters. Facebook will produce an accompanying series of short videos telling some of their stories that will launch early next year.
As was the case with all past “Love Has No Labels” PSAs, R/GA created the full version of the spot released today pro bono with Great Guns Production. It was funded by brand partners Bank of America, Budweiser, the Coca-Cola Co., Google, Johnson & Johnson, PepsiCo, P&G, State Farm, Unilever and Wells Fargo, which will also support the campaign through online and offline activations including social messaging, custom content creation and events.
“There are so many powerful stories that fed into this film, and while it’s about a disaster, it’s ultimately about love,” Chris Northam, vp and executive creative director of R/GA, said in a statement, noting that some of the film’s crew members have volunteered in disaster areas which “added a level of authenticity to the story.”
The latest in the “Love Has No Labels” campaign follows “Skeletons” from 2015, “We Are America” from 2016 and last year’s “Fans of Love.” Those three videos have collectively garnered more than 350 million online views.
Launch partner Showtime will begin airing “Rising” today, while Clear Channel Outdoor will support the campaign through national out-of-home placements. National CineMedia will run trailers of the film in its theaters nationwide, and iHeartRadio will promote the film through artist integrations on its stations. “Rising” can also be viewed on the “Love Has No Labels” website and social channels.
Below is the 30-second teaser for the spot: