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.
What’s the elevator pitch for your project?
Gun violence in the U.S. is a vicious cycle. The only way to end it is by getting young people to vote out pro-gun politicians. But only 19.9% of young people voted in the 2014 midterms. To change these numbers, March for Our Lives activists launched “Vote For Our Lives”. The campaign featured a music video with a Kesha song, written the day after a mass shooting. The video dramatizes the cycle and urges viewers to #VoteforOurLives. It repeats three times to emphasize the repetition of gun violence, and implies that it could go on forever, if we do nothing. The film launched on MTV and was spread across social media via the artists and activists. 2018 youth voter turnout increased to 31%.
What was the impetus for this project? What real-world challenge were you trying to solve?
Gun violence in the U.S. happens over and over again. Tens of thousands of people die from guns each and every year, yet politicians have done nothing to stop the violence. The only way to end this vicious cycle was to get young people to vote out pro-gun politicians in the 2018 elections. However, only 19.9% of young people voted in the 2014 midterms. We were determined to get young people to vote.
To emphasize the repeating nature of gun violence, and to imply that the cycle of gun violence won’t end unless we take action, we decided to have the video repeat three times. And in each cycle, there are subtle differences and “Easter Eggs.” There are different protest posters each cycle. Names of gun violence victims are added in the second. And song lyrics are shown in the third. In every cycle, a room number changes to represent the date of a mass shooting.
Once you settled on your idea, what was your first step in moving it forward?
Our first step was to find the right partners to make The Most Vicious Cycle a reality. This project is truly a labor of love and required a very dedicated group of people to ensure its quality. We also needed a team that thoroughly understood the sensitive nature of the subject.
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?
We wanted The Most Vicious Cycle to acknowledge inner city gun violence, in addition to the the mass shootings that happen across the country. To do this, we found up-and-coming rapper Chika and featured her in the music video’s song “Safe.” During her parts of the song, she raps from the perspective of a student at an inner-city school.
What technologies/media did you use to develop this project (AI, Social Media, WordPress, etc.)?
To distribute The Most Vicious Cycle, Kesha and the March for Our Lives activists posted the video on Twitter and Facebook. The activists also promoted the film on their Instagram feeds.
How will you use technology in future work to create inspiring, cutting-edge projects that also make a difference in people’s lives?
Over the past year, McCann-New York has produced three projects with March for Our Lives. One is a printed ticket. Another is a traditional film. And the third, The Most Vicious Cycle, is a VFX-heavy music video. In the future, we’ll continue to use whatever technology is appropriate to execute ideas in the best way possible.