Universal Love | The Webby Awards

Webby for Good is a collaborative program formed by The Webby Awards and WP Engine to showcase Webby-recognized projects built to change the world.

It was more than 'real-world' impact, but an impact on a personal level. - McCann New York Team
What’s the elevator pitch for your project?

MGM Resorts has a long history of hiring and supporting members of the LGBTQ community. In fact, they were hosting same-sex weddings years before it was made officially legal in the United States. We realized that until now, classic love songs have been something that only straight couples can truly “own.” These well know songs don’t reflect LGBTQ relationships, making them harder for those couples to fully embrace and relate to. This was a great opportunity to reimagine wedding songs to show that MGM (and Las Vegas in general) is open to everyone, regardless of sexual orientation.

What was the impetus for this project? What real-world challenge were you trying to solve?

There are countless love songs: songs about true love, lost love, forbidden love, love gone bad, and love rekindled. But there aren’t many songs celebrating the love between same-sex couples. As a result, LGBTQ couples had few choices when it came to wedding songs. As a popular destination for weddings, we realized MGM could help change that.

 

Once you settled on your idea, what was your first step in moving it forward?

We partnered with a group of iconic musicians spanning genres, generations, and sexual orientation (Bob Dylan, Kesha, Benjamin Gibbard, St. Vincent, Kele Okereke, and Valerie June) to reimagine traditional love songs, creating a new soundtrack that celebrates Universal Love.

Was there a moment during the project where you ran into a hurdle; or faced a problem you didn’t know how to solve? Take us to this moment, what happened and what did you do next?

YES! We were in need of talent, and schedules were restricting availability. And it continued that way, until we spoke with Bob Dylan’s manager. He immediately understood the meaning of the project, and took it to Bob. Not only did he say yes, but he knew which song he’d be singing instantly. As you’d imagine, once the project had a legend like Bob, it was a much easier conversation to have with other managers.

Did the real-world impact meet your expectations? Can you share an example?

It was more than “real-world” impact, but an impact on a personal level. When sharing this project, it was met with reactions like “well it's about time” and “I never thought I’d see the day.” While it seems our culture is moving toward acceptance, we’ve still got a long way to go for people to feel free and open to express their love, however they choose.

What technologies/media did you use to develop this project (AI, Social Media, WordPress, etc.)?

We used social media and PR in the project. Most importantly we used advances in music technology to allow for a song written by She & Him to be recorded two ways: “He gives His love to me” and “She gives her love to me.”

Was the tech/medium you chose crucial to conveying your message? If so, why?

Our musical artists became our social influencers. They posted about the project to drive awareness with their followers.

How did this project defy your expectations?

When we first talked about the project, we never imagined that our compilation album would be distributed by Sony, or that it would hit #9 on the Apple Music charts!!

How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?

Technology provides the opportunity to create projects that are currently beyond our wildest dreams. What used to be impossible, is now possible. How exciting.

Credits

  • Chief Creative Officer Eric Silver McCann North America
  • Co-Chief Creative Officer Tom Murphy McCann New York
  • Co-Chief Creative Officer Sean Bryan McCann New York
  • Executive Creative Director Chris Mitton McCann New York
  • Executive Creative Director Nir Refuah McCann New York
  • Creative Director Carlos Wigle McCann New York
  • Creative Director Scott Cooney McCann New York
  • Creative Director Benjamin Vendramin McCann New York
  • Creative Director Jesse Potack McCann New York
  • Chief Production Officer Nathy Aviram McCann New York
  • Executive Producer Deb Archambault McCann New York
  • Design Director George Katz McCann New York
  • Design Director David Mashburn McCann New York
  • President Devika Bulchandani McCann New York
  • EVP Executive Account Director Scot Beck McCann New York
  • Account Director Tessa Cosenza McCann New York
  • Head of Communications Strategy David Broad McCann New York
  • Director of Social & Mobile Gemma Craven McCann New York
  • Chief Communications Officer Jeremy Miller McCann New York
  • Chief Experience & Marketing Officer Lili Tomovich MGM Resorts International
  • SVP Marketing Strategy Kate Wik MGM Resorts International
  • VP Brand Strategy Nick Parks MGM Resorts International
  • VP of Media Megan Estrada MGM Resorts International
  • SVP of Public Relations Jenn Michaels MGM Resorts International
  • Executive Producer Patrick Milling Smith Smuggler
  • Executive Producer Rob Kaplan Wool & Tusk
  • Executive Producer Aaron Mercer Wool & Tusk
  • Album Artwork and Animation Artwork Craig & Karl
  • Website Production Young Majesty Amsterdam
  • Music Production Company Wool & Tusk
  • Animation Company Trollback
  • Production Company Smuggler
  • Public Relations Agency Sunshine Sachs

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