For Valentine’s Day 2016, the several non-profit partners including the Perception Institute, Human Rights Campaign, AARP, AAPD, ADL and the Southern Poverty Law Center combined forces to make as many people as possible rethink bias and make unconventional images of love feel celebrated and more normalized. Especially in today’s world, there is an implicit bias in societal stereotypes that affects people even if they don’t know it.
To change this, the non-profit partners launched a live x-ray installation in Santa Monica, CA. The display showcased skeleton figures kissing, hugging and dancing while thousands of onlookers mentally processed the composition of these skeletons. Then, unbeknownst to viewers, the skeletons stepped out from the side of the screen showing who they actually were. This often created surprises for the audience who internally thought of the individuals as something different than who they actually were. The intent of this campaign was to educate onlookers about bias and diversity.
The results of this campaign were incredible as social media picked up on the videos and responses quickly turning the local installment into a global viral campaign. The metrics include:
- 10K people witnessing the event live
- 40M views of the live event in two days
- 2nd most viewed and shared PSA in history after just three weeks
- 1.8B media impressions
This campaign was influential because it was short, unexpected and powerful. For me, this is what most viral campaigns represent. It is not something that the non-profit partners necessarily planned for, but happened because of the surprise factor. This campaign will certainly draw a wide variety of responses depending on your own social situation and upbringing, but what is important to recognize is why the campaign was successful.
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