Black Lives Matter Film, Digital Unsafety Check by J. Walter Thompson New York

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Unsafety Check

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Industry Racial/Ethnic/Handicapped/Minority Awareness
Media Film, Digital, Interactive & Mobile
Market United States
Agency J. Walter Thompson New York
Chief Creative Officer Brent Choi
Senior Art Director Mo Osunbor, Jess Toye
Senior Copywriter Daniel Del Toro, Christopher Phillips
Released August 2016


Cannes Lions 2017
PR Digital & Social: Innovative Use of Social Media Gold Lion
PR Digital & Social: Social Community Building / Management Gold Lion
Cyber Social: Community Building / Management Gold Lion
Cyber Online Ad: Native Advertising Silver Lion
Cyber Social: Innovative Use of Social or Community Silver Lion
Cyber Social: Social Purpose Silver Lion
Direct Digital & Social: Use of Social Platforms Bronze Lion
Mobile Social: Co-Creation & User Generated Content Bronze Lion
Mobile Social: Social Purpose Bronze Lion

Credits & Description

Agency: J. Walter Thompson New York
Brand: Black Lives Matter
Country: USA
Entrant Company: J. Walter Thompson New York
Advertising Agency: J. Walter Thompson New York
Production Company: J. Walter Thompson New York
Chief Creative Officer: Brent Choi (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Senior Art Director: Jessica Toye (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Senior Art Director: Mo Osunbor (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Senior Copywriter: Daniel Del Toro (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Senior Copywriter: Chris Phillips (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Director Of Digital: Jennifer Mcbride (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Director Of Technology: Kamran Aslam (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Producer: Angela Oneill (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Associate Technical Director: Juan Turcios (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Senior Technical Lead: William Mincy (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Qa Manager: Sujay Debsikdar (J. Walter Thompson New York)
Facebook has rolled out the “Safety Check” which lets people declare themselves safe in national emergencies. But we wanted to build awareness of how unsafe Black Americans feel. So we built a mobile-first social media platform to engage their followers, plus millennials in general, motivating them to stay involved and take action against racism in America. So Black Lives Matter could connect not only on the front lines, but online as well. Leveraging Facebook because:- Millennials engage with social causes most often through Facebook (87%) and Twitter (54%).- Shares, likes, check-ins have been continually used as symbolic acts of speech with the hope of spreading consciousness and constructing an image of oneself as an activist.- 85% of millennials in the U.S. own smartphones and the bulk of their “online time” is via their phones.
Campaign Description:
We hacked Facebook’s existing “safety check” functionality to create a simple and provocative social web app called the “Unsafety Check”. Black people could mark themselves unsafe, to declare how they feel. And by sharing the issues of Black Lives Matter with family, friends and all of their followers, it makes the message personal.
In the first week alone, and with no paid support the web app achieved:- Over 40K unique visitors.- Over 20M media impressions.- Including the participation of celebrities Russell Simmons (co-founder of Def Jam, CEO of Rush Communications), Taleb Kweli (hip-hop recording artist, entrepreneur, social activist), Janet Mock (writer, TV host, transgender rights activist, author of New York Times bestseller Redefining Realness, and contributing editor for Marie Claire) and Eric Haywood (screenwriter of Empire, Private Practice, Soul Food, Relative Stranger and director of Four Hearts).- Mainstream media coverage: - “A form of protest.” - Newsone- “Black Lives Matter protesters played a key role in the wake of President Trump’s immigration ban, helping to mobilize against the executive order.”- Fast Company- “A poignant twist on the Safety Check” – Bustle- “Symbolizes the general sense of fear plaguing Black Americans.”- Huffington Post
The Washington Post declared “Black America is in a state of emergency.” Black people are being harassed, beaten and killed while doing everyday activities such as walking to school, sitting in a car or even when calling for help. In a year when hate crimes rose as high as 35% percent and the election of the most controversial President in American history. Black Lives Matter needed a way to raise awareness and foster empathy in all Americans – Black, White and everything in between.
The social web app launched as part of Black Lives Matters’ week of action, which encouraged supporters of racial equality to get involved in daily activist-oriented tasks between Martin Luther King Jr. Day and Trump’s Inauguration.- Designed for mobile first.- Our development team utilized the Facebook and Twitter API. - To intelligently utilize their functionality, collect user data, and control the messaging. - Controlling the message was important to Black Lives Matter, to prevent messages of hatred and racism, which they experience all the time.- Social media users of all colors could also share a post to show their solidarity.- We also gave users the opportunity to anonymously share personal and important stories of when they felt unsafe. Which helped us create social content.- Driving traffic back to the Black Lives Matter website where people could learn how they can take action.