Cannes Lions

Go Back To Africa

FCB/SIX, Toronto / BLACK & ABROAD / 2019

Awards:

1 Grand Prix Cannes Lions
1 Silver Cannes Lions
2 Bronze Cannes Lions
7 Shortlisted Cannes Lions
Case Film
Supporting Images
Supporting Content

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

Between 1525 and 1866, more than 12.5 million African people were taken from their communities, loaded onto ships, brought to the West, and forced into slavery. Today, systems of oppression endure – including racialized language such as the “n word” and the slur, “Go back to Africa,” which is used every three minutes on social platforms alone.

Black & Abroad is an American travel brand serving members of the Black community. In efforts to merchandize African destinations to its target, it has found two key barriers:

1. Widespread misperceptions of Africa as a dangerous, undesirable destination.

2. Lack of representation of Black travelers in commercial travel imagery.

Our brief: Reinforce Black & Abroad’s position as a leader in redefining world experiences for the modern Black traveler.

Objectives:

Reclaim the phrase “Go Back To Africa”.

Contribute to a positive narrative around Black travel.

Build equity behind the Black & Abroad brand.

Idea

GO BACK TO AFRICA

A pan-African tourism campaign that turns a racial slur into an uplifting call to action.

We hijack hateful uses of the phrase “Go Back To Africa” as they happen on Twitter. Redact the racist context. Then use them as headlines for hyper-targeted ads for each of Africa’s 54 countries.

The ads drive to GoBackToAfrica.com – an AI-curated content hub designed to address the lack of representation in commercial travel imagery. A first-of-its-kind content platform, GoBackToAfrica.com contains 54 ever-growing galleries, organized alphabetically by African country, built with the express purpose of showing members of the Black community traveling in Africa.

The GoBackToAfrica.com content platform also powers programmatic banner ads that use interest-based targeting to connect our target with specific African countries.

Strategy

THE NEEDLE-HAYSTACK PROBLEM

To address the lack of representation in mainstream travel imagery, we turned to an accessible, vast archive of travel photography: social media. The challenge was locating the images we wanted within this massive collection (3.2 billion images added daily).

LOCATE AND CONTEUXTUALIZE

Our algorithm starts by narrowing the pool to a manageable number (currently 2.8 million) based on pre-defined relevance criteria (accounts followed, locations tagged, hashtags, etc.). Next, it applies Google Vision AI, detecting faces, activities, objects, compositional strength, etc. The output is a pool of high-relevance imagery with rich contextual metadata.

“MAN AND MACHINE”

We used machines to compile, organize and shortlist a vast number of images (from approx. 2.8 million to 14,000). The final selects, however, were made by humans with knowledge of ethical principles such as “shadeism” – a type of racism that implies some shades of Black are better than others. Once a human has made a select, the AI learns from that choice, which then informs subsequent recommendations.

PROGRAMATIC FOR THE PEOPLE

We used Axciom’s interest-based targeting platform to find and serve relevant social and digital ads to members of the Black community from a total of 6,840 possible creative variants.

Execution

IMPLEMENTATION

NetBase to find data on the phrase “Go back to Africa”.

Acxiom for audience-based hypertargeting on Twitter.

Custom-built algorithms and APIs to collect visual data.

Google Vision A.I. to assist in sorting and understanding that data.

Acxiom for interest-based targeting of programmatic banners.

TIMELINE

April 8, 2019 to May 8, 2019.

PLACEMENT

60-second video/pre-roll – Explains campaign idea.

Paid posts on social – Realtime hate displacement.

Digital out-of-home – Redacted tweet awareness.

Programmatic banner ads – Conversion layer.

GoBackToAfrica.com – Content hub.

SCALE

2.8 million assets ingested

14,000 selects

6,840 possible ad combinations

100s of creative elements distributed across the web

Outcome

BRAND BUILDING

315% increase in brand visibility.

2x search interest in the brand.

CREATING DESIRE

60% increase in booking interest for Black & Abroad’s upcoming African trips.

88% of our audience said their interest in visiting Africa had increased.

CHANGING PERCEPTION

89% of our audience said our campaign reduced the hate from the term “go back to Africa.” 52% now feel the term is “hopeful” or “empowering.”

92% feel that they know more about what Africa has to offer.

COMMUNITY REACTION

Among members of the Black community, the response to the campaign has been virtually unanimous and positive – most clearly evidenced in the comments sections of the launch video. The most common reaction: “Dope!”

PR

“Turning white trolls into Black gold.” – AFROPUNK

“A galvanizing example of the power of words and our ability to mold their meaning.” – AdWeek

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