Racism. It Stops With Me Campaign
Our perceptions precede our actions and changing either is no small order.
The Big Idea
Our perceptions precede our actions and changing either is no small order. Racism is not just the calling of names, the throwing of judgemental looks or the shouts of an angry passenger on the train. Encircling the individual behaviors is the influence of countless cultural systems and structures under which racism festers.
To help Australians see this influence, and work towards breaking free from it, Think HQ was engaged to develop the latest iteration of the Australian Human Rights Commission’s “Racism it stops with me” (RISWM) campaign.
The challenge was to refresh the RISWM campaign to incorporate awareness of structural racism and its equally sinister sister, unconscious bias. However, this call to look beyond personal behaviors and tackle social and systemic disadvantage had the potential to alienate any audience triggered by the sheer possibility that they could be inadvertently racist. So, we got creative with the approach.
We would ease Australians without lived experience of racism into a safe space for them to engage and reflect because, no matter how challenging the conversation, we need to talk about racism and the causes of inequality. Using mirrors as a key visual metaphor throughout campaign collateral, the audience would be invited to look beyond the surface and discover change is only possible when we reflect within ourselves. That reflection would begin by asking ourselves the hard questions — prompted by the 14 hero questions researched, tested, and developed by the Think HQ team. Each question would ask participants to consider their own experiences and think about the everyday advantages and disadvantages caused by racism.
It would be a starting point to ignite constructive conversations about both institutional and interpersonal racism, first with the audience themselves and then with those at their dinner table.
In a project that saw the integration of every arm of Think HQ’s team, we conducted the strategy development, creative production and refinement, concept testing, and rollout of the entire RISWM campaign.
Our researchers kicked off by testing creative concepts with the target audience (Australians without lived experience of racism) and worked with the Australian Human Rights Commission to run 25 community consultations, including with their Expert Advisory Group.
Ambassador recruitment landed hero ambassadors to feature across the campaign that included Author and Broadcaster Tasneem Chopra as well as Former Socceroos captain turned social advocate Craig Foster AM.
An extensive consultation process allowed for the refinement of the 14 hero questions, ensuring they invoked a feeling of discomfort that would lend itself to a desire to continue learning. Across the board, the campaign's tone of voice was weaved with this delicate balance of being confronting while not off-putting, informative while sensitive to the subject matter.
We developed a CSA short film built from the core concept of reflection, playing with mirrors to invoke a sense of responsibility and self-examination. The mirrors echoed the perspective and feelings of our subjects, acting as a poignant reflection on what it means to move through the world affected, or not affected, by racism.
The CSA was produced as a full-length video (3 mins 20”) to be housed on the RISWM website and shorter cutdown edits made their way across a paid and earned media schedule.
On top of the core CSA film, Think HQ developed a revised website and supporting creative campaign assets, including social tiles, outdoor, digital display, and below-the-line (BTL) campaign supporter packs.
The ‘Racism It Stops with Me’ campaign launched on 12 July 2022 and is still in its initial round of penetration across the media landscape with outstanding preliminary results.
Within days of launching the campaign, the Australian Human Rights Commission received 500 sign ups to the email newsletter and 40 new organizational supporters, as well as a host of empowering and supportive comments via the website ‘contact us’ form about the personal impact the CSA film had on people.
Backed by a strong PR push bolstered by engaging messaging and creative imagery, the campaign has also been picked up by numerous key mastheads including The Guardian, SBS, ABC News and The Project. Aggregated audience reach from earned media coverage in the first week of launch was 81,757,938 as of 19th July.
While measuring the impact of conversations about race will never be an exact science, we know the campaign is reaching countless Australians and planting the seeds for change.
All campaign assets included powerful CTA that directed people to the RISWM redesigned website where the hero questions were waiting. Upon landing on this website, audiences were met with the questions they needed to start the conversation alongside the research and tools required to keep it going.
Think HQ worked closely with AHRC to secure donated media from various publishers to support the campaign which featured across QMS outdoor, Nine digital display, The Guardian, Pedestrian Group and Mamamia as well as SBS online.
Earned media coverage in the first week of launch saw the campaign featured across stories in over 25 publications including The Guardian, News.com.au and SBS alongside broadcast TVC spots with Channel 10, 7 and ABC.
Large format posters and digital OOH have been distributed with QR codes that direct people to the RISWM website.
Micro-content in the form of 6-second videos taken from ambassador responses to the hero questions are distributed across social media.
We’ve launched sponsored advertising on Twitter as well as running a Twitter Takeover for 24 hours. On the 18th, we had exclusive access to the top slot on the trending tab on twitter and appeared in the timelines of every Australian twitter user, serving over 4 million impressions.
We’re also running sponsored content across Twitter to influential users involved in topics like news and politics.