Cannes Lions

Don't Look Away

AKQA, Sao Paulo / USHER / 2016

Case Film
Supporting Images
Supporting Images






Stories of racial profiling and violence against unarmed civilians make headlines with regularity. And while these cases are hot topics for a news cycle, the media and the public quickly move on to the next sensational story without truly acknowledging the lives lost, or making any real progress towards change.


The truth is: While racial injustice keeps killing, society keeps looking away.

To make everyone look back, we created the first music video to demand your attention.

Visitors to are compelled to look into victims of brutality and confront the shocking facts of each person’s story. Facial recognition software, activated through a webcam, stops the music if the viewer looks away.


Users could interact with the experience by physically facing the screen, symbolizing the notion of “facing up” to racial injustice. We made this possible by accessing the user’s webcam and processing what we could see using web-based face and eye tracking technologies, CLM Trackr & JS Feat.

Originally we developed our own eye gaze algorithms which were very accurate under ‘lab conditions’. However, this didn’t translate well to the real world as regular webcams, different lighting conditions and skin tones prevented the accuracy we needed to calculate eye gaze direction.

To respect the sensitive subject matter, we moved to another solution, picking a library called “clmtrackr”. We then based the solution on head orientation which gave us a good compromise, producing a more fluid sound experience for a wider audience.

The experience took two months to develop and went live on October 15th, launching exclusively and globally on


Facing the facts was the first step towards people and media engagement.

In only four days, the video received 500k views and was featured on CBS, NBC, Fast Company, The Guardian, Forbes and other news outlets from more than 100 countries, contributing to more than 500 million earned impressions and positive headlines:

Billboard - “No words could do the video justice.”

The Huffington Post - “Confronts racial injustice like you’ve never seen”

SPIN - “Devastating”

Rolling Stone - “Powerful”


Akon, Ava DuVernay, Cara Delevingne, Common, D-Nice, Hugh Evans, Jamal Bryant, Janelle Monae, Jay Glazer, Kelendria Rowland, Kenny Hamilton, Keri Hilson, Kevin Durant, Kevin Prince, King Leaf, Leonardo DiCaprio, Lukas Podolski, Michael Moore, NAS, Nasir Jones, Ne-Yo, Omarion, Perfect Black Boy, Pharrell Williams, Ryan Good, Shad Moss, Steve Harvey, Tinie Tempah, T-Pain, xoNecole and big social media celebrities like Summerella, were some of the names that promoted this project.

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