Ad Council debuts “Love Has No Labels” documentary series

Film shorts tell the inspiring stories of real people connected by disaster

The Ad Council’s Emmy Award-winning Love Has No Labels campaign has been addressing themes of inclusivity since its debut in 2015. Now in its fourth year, the campaign is asking the question: “Why does it take a disaster to bring us together?”A new two-part documentary video series created in partnership with Great Big Story and Facebook features real people from different backgrounds who come together during tragedy. The first episode tells the story of Munira and Sara, a Muslim woman and Jewish woman, respectively, who connected on Facebook in the wake of Hurricane Harvey and formed a long-lasting friendship.

“Everybody was working together, without labels, without question,” Sara explains in the open of the three-minute video.

“There was always this idea that Muslims and Jewish people are always fighting,” Munira says in the film. “Harvey changed everything. I saw people of all cultures and religions come together.”

The short chronicles the friendship and how the two women engaged Facebook groups to help rebuild their communities.

“With this latest installation of the campaign, we’re shifting our approach,” says Lisa Sherman, president and CEO of the Ad Council. “Beyond asking viewers to be more aware of their unconscious bias, we’re now encouraging them to take the next step and consider the everyday actions they can implement to create a more inclusive community.”

The second film, scheduled to launch next month, will showcase the friendship between two Orlando-based reverends, Joel and Terri, a cis man and a gay woman, respectively, in the wake of the Pulse nightclub shooting.

The series was directed by Michael Southworth and produced by Courageous Studios, Great Big Story’s branded content studio.

“If we as a society are going to consign bias, even unconscious bias, to the dustbin of history, then we need to fully explore how it is best overcome,” explains Otto Bell, chief creative officer at Courageous. “The stories we found for the Love Has No Labels campaign show our capacity to love in moments of disaster and offer lessons to us all on how to push for progress.”

The Ad Council campaign introduced the theme of catastrophes connecting people in a short film last fall. The 11-minute film — titled The Rising, directed by Games of Thrones’ David Nutter, and created by R/GA — featured the aftermath of a storm and asked why it takes a disaster to unite us.

The new docuseries continues the theme with stories of real people.

“Our research unearthed many stories of togetherness and lasting bonds that emerged from times of crisis,” Sherman says. “The goal here was to let viewers see how these relationships can form and the lessons we can take away from human behavior in times of disaster.”

Addie Marino, global prototype lead of the Facebook Creative Shop, added she was proud the campaign shows people coming together across Facebook to support each other.

“What Love Has No Labels found inspiring beyond immediate support in the aftermath of a disaster is the long-lasting friendships that have connected unlikely people and communities to each other — making the world a little more inclusive each day,” Marino says. “Telling these real stories in a familiar space was important for both Love Has No Labels and for us.”