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In March of last year, the creative advertising agency Wieden+Kennedy’s Asian American affinity group Asiancy made a powerful message the center of a video campaign aimed at conveying how they were being affected by the COVID-19 pandemic.
The creative team has recently shared a new iteration of the video titled “a word,” which asks viewers, “Has anything changed?” It’s received support from several networks and other platforms, as well as high-profile figures including Jeremy Lin and Olivia Munn.
“The film ends with the question, ‘What will you say, when you can’t say you didn’t know?’” creative director Titania Tran said. “We wanted people to sit with that discomfort. Discomfort alerts us that something is wrong. It tells us, if we want to escape this feeling, we need to do something about it. Discomfort motivates change. It would be a mistake then, to absolve that discomfort too quickly.”
The truth, Titania added, is “there is no single solution” to the problem.
“Donating, or volunteering, or reporting a crime...those things help, but they don’t tackle the root of the problem,” Titania said. “The problem—the thing that motivates the type of language that translates to violence against our community—runs much deeper. Maybe we’re so eager for solutions, because we’re so afraid of looking at ourselves. What happens, then, when we’re not presented solutions? We’d be forced to look at the only thing available to us: ourselves. If we can recognize ourselves as part of the problem, then we can start to see ourselves as part of the solution. This piece isn’t meant to tell people exactly what to do. This piece presents a choice. That’s the call to action: You decide the kind of person you want to be.”