Cannes Lions

Ugly Truth Sweaters

CHANGE THE REF, Parkland / CHANGE THE REF / 2022

Presentation Image
Demo Film
Presentation Image

Overview

Entries

Credits

Overview

Background

During the holiday season we see family reunions, chilly days, and a holiday trend that sparks a frenzy in the U.S.: Ugly Christmas sweaters. Ugly sweaters are a huge part of American culture, so for the 2021 holiday season, Change the Ref wanted to join in on the fun by making the ugliest sweaters imaginable.

By creating their own ugly sweater and adorning it with the ugly truth behind gun violence in America, Change the Ref would redirect consumers’ attention during one of the busiest times of the year and raise awareness around another horrible tradition in America: The spike in gun violence during December.

Idea

The campaign stemmed from the insight that gun violence in America spikes during the month of December. Diving deeper into the data, we found a series of alarming statistics, including 63 Americans were shot and killed on Christmas Day and that there is a 50% spike of unintentional shootings on Christmas. We then stamped this horrifying data on traditional Ugly Christmas Sweaters, incorporating common holiday vernacular:

1. "Dear Santa, in 2020 63 Americans were shot and killed on Christmas Day"

2. "Ho Ho Hope The 50% Spike of Unintentional Shootings on Christmas Don't Take Your Family"

The contrast between the traditionally joyful Christmas sweaters and the grim statistics reminded consumers that gun violence is more present than ever during the month of December.

Strategy

Data was leveraged from gun violence archives and official government data sources, including the Gun Violence Archive. Data was interpreted by a team of activists, content creators, and creatives who turned it into a culturally relevant medium of protest. We targeted politicians and influential people in Washington D.C. who can take action, as well as the overall U.S. audience who might ignore the reality of gun violence and its impact during the Holiday season.

Execution

During the holiday season we see family reunions, chilly days, and a holiday trend that sparks a frenzy in the U.S.: Ugly Christmas sweaters. Ugly sweaters are a huge part of American culture, so for the 2021 holiday season, Change the Ref wanted to join in on the fun by making the ugliest sweaters imaginable.

By creating their own ugly sweater and adorning it with the ugly truth behind gun violence in America, Change the Ref was able to redirect consumers attention during one of the busiest times of the year and show another horrible tradition in America: The spike in gun violence during the holidays.

Outcome

The alarming data stamped on the Christmas sweaters caught the attention of consumers across the country. Activists and local politicians quickly joined the effort, wearing the Ugly Truth sweaters to protests outside the White House.

As activists took to social media, the message behind the Ugly Truth Sweaters quickly spread, earning 250.5K impressions between organic impressions and reach. The message resonated with consumers who also wanted to join in the action, with many asking for the sweaters to be made available to the wider public.

In the end, the campaign reminded consumers across America that gun violence doesn’t fade during the joyful holiday season.

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