On Valentine’s Day in the middle of a crowded square in Santa Monica, California, a giant X-ray installation came to life with two skeletons kissing passionately. When the owners of the skeletons were revealed to a curious crowd of onlookers, the sight of two people they didn’t expect revealed their implicit bias.
Is love two straight white people? Is it two women? Is it two black fathers and their child?
A better question, one answered by the tagline of the campaign, is why do we feel the need to label love at all? Despite a general consensus that America is the land of the free where all humans are created equal and should be able to love whomever they wish, many people in this country feel discriminated against daily. In ways big and small. Subtle and overt. It’s called implicit bias, and it influences how people treat each other when we interact. It can perpetuate stereotypes, impacting a person’s ability to find a job, secure a loan, rent an apartment or get a fair trial. To make Americans more aware of this, and to facilitate acceptance, the Ad Council teamed up with R/GA to create “Love Has No Labels.”
“Love Has No Labels” holds a mirror to society’s biases and puts a very real, human face on the communities it affects. 10,000 people witnessed the event live and the YouTube video of the stunt went viral, gaining over 40 million views in two days. It became the fastest spreading and second most viewed campaign ever, spawned two successful follow-up videos and won an Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial at the Creative Arts Emmys in September 2016.