The Ad Council has partnered with both the NFL and creative agency R/GA to produce the latest offering from the “Love Has No Labels” campaign that features a “kiss-cam” highlighting diversity in couples and pairings. It was released to coincide with Valentine’s Day this week and centers on the audience at the Orlando Pro Bowl football game in January.
Their 2015 viral video used x-ray imagery to demonstrate the innate nature of love no matter its gender identity, sexual orientation, race or age. This time around, it uses the familiar sports phenomenon of a “kiss-cam,” in which a camera pans over the stadium searching for couples to zoom in on and flash onto the Jumbotron big screen to prompt them to kiss for cheering fans, to put the spotlight on nontraditional duos. It begins by centering a heart-shaped overlay on a man and woman in the crowd, but then switches over to the left so the man could kiss his male partner to his right instead. The twist is greeted with applause and cheers.
The crowd then shows its appreciation in turn for an older African-American straight couple, a lesbian couple—one of whom is wearing an Orlando survivor t-shirt—as well as two young men with Down’s syndrome who hug each other warmly. The video is accompanied by this message:
For years, kiss cams have been a big part of American sports culture. This year, Love Has No Labels puts a twist on the kiss cam by turning it into a symbol for unbiased love. In the stadium, fans cheered for love in all its forms – regardless of race, gender, disability, age or religion.
Love Has No Labels is a movement to open our eyes to unconscious bias. While the vast majority of Americans consider themselves unprejudiced, many of us unintentionally make snap judgments about people based on what we see – whether it’s race, age, gender, religion, sexuality, or disability. By becoming aware of our own biases, we can work to end bias in ourselves, our families, our friends, and our communities. Rethink bias at www.lovehasnolabels.com.
With the NFL demonstrating its willingness to put pressure on Texas against the passage of an anti-transgender bathroom bill, and its collaboration in the shooting of this video, it is providing an example of how cultural influences—even those sometimes problematically associated with toxic masculinity—can step in even when political setbacks seem to threaten progress. The ad’s creators provided their own insights into the video’s origins:
“The message is not political, it’s apolitical,” said Eric Jannon, an executive creative director at R/GA, adding that the campaign was more than a year in the making. “We’ll keep embracing diversity regardless of what’s going on in the White House.”
“I do believe that releasing this piece of film at this moment in time will be incredibly powerful,” said Ad Council CEO and President Lisa Sherman. She is hoping that all the people “looking for images and messages of coming together” will boost the latest version of the campaign.
“We noticed that [the iconic kiss cam] was often focused on traditional notions of love. We thought, what if we could showcase a more modern take?” said Chris Northam, another executive creative director at R/GA who worked on the spot. “We hope it does cause conversation and, more than anything else, that the fans embrace this message and help spread this movement.”