Cannes Lions

White Squad

PARTY, Tokyo / MTV / 2016

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Overview

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Credits

Overview

Description

We invented a fictional company called White Squad: Professional White Advantage Services and made a campaign to promote that company.

White Squad claims to employ a team of “carefully selected white representatives” who lend their white privilege to people of color. They can help you hail a cab, negotiate a loan, apply for a scholarship, and many other tasks. By promoting the features of this fictional company, we were able to deliver a provocative message about the realities of white privilege.

Execution

We launched the project as a multi-media campaign to maximize the opportunities for encountering our message. A 90-second TV spot aired on MTV and also spread online. A fully realized website provided greater depth and detail. Twitter and Facebook accounts helped round out the fictional world of White Squad, and a working, automated toll-free phone number completed the illusion. Launching White Squad on multiple platforms not only solidified our fiction, but also meant that a wide variety of demographics could experience at least some part of the campaign. The company felt so real that people were struck with an “omg wtf” feeling, generating thousands of comments and conversations. If people tried to request the service, we revealed that while "White Privilege is Real, White Squad is Fiction” and lead people to the MTV Look Different page where they can learn more about race bias in the USA.

Outcome

White Squad exploded online. The campaign became a top trending topic on Twitter in the US, generating hundreds of tweets per minute. It was covered by many major media outlets, and was selected as one of the best ads of 2015 by The Guardian. Thousands of comments and conversations debated the realities of race bias in the USA and people from all racial, ethnic, socio-economic, and political backgrounds took part.

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