There are few images more evocative of the human body than a skeleton. But it’s easy to disassociate this image with actual people.
In the “Love Has No Labels” PSA featured in the video above, the skeleton is used as a symbolic reminder that — simply put — we’re all human, despite our varying identities. The yearlong initiative aims to call out some of our latent biases and prejudices.
As “Love Has No Labels” says in its mission: “Before anything else, we are all human. It’s time to embrace diversity. Let’s put aside labels in the name of love.”
To help underscore their point, the Ad Council and R/GA, a New York-based ad agency, set up a large X-ray screen outside in Santa Monica, California, this past Valentine’s Day. The display shows skeletons kissing, dancing, holding hands and hugging behind the screen. These images were initially more puzzling than moving to viewers. But as diverse pairings of people step out from behind the screen, the display takes on a larger meaning.
Two kissing skeletons in the first image, reveal themselves to be two women. They step out to wave at the surprised, but receptive, audience, and kiss again. Next, a dancing skeleton duo that turns out to be an interracial couple takes the stage. In the end, people from a wide-range of identities, genders, ages, abilities and religions comes out from behind the screen. The audience celebrates each person with applause, smiles and tears.
“We decided to take this on because we felt it was very important to encourage people, all Americans, to examine their unconscious biases,” Lisa Sherman, Ad Council president and CEO, told Adweek. “As much progress as we’ve made as a country, we absolutely still have more work to do.”
The campaign is in partnership with eight nonprofits that celebrate diversity. The Southern Poverty Law Center, for example, specializes in civil rights litigation for a range of marginalized groups. Other partners include The Anti-Defamation League, which combats hate crimes and anti-Semitism, and The Human Rights Campaign, the country’s largest LGBT civil rights advocacy group.
Learn more about the campaign and its nonprofit partners here.