A campaign for black maternal health brings back the voice of a mother…plus 7 more campaigns that use protagonists from 'beyond the grave'.

A campaign for black maternal health brings back the voice of a mother…plus 7 more campaigns that use protagonists from 'beyond the grave'.
Beyond the grave creative thinking

Who can forget the spirit of Obe Wan providing Luke with timely advice at pivotal moments in his quest to save the universe from the dark side? Finding ways to elevate the voices of those no longer with us can be a powerful way to gain your target audiences attention  and evoke strong emotions. Here are some gut-wrenching campaigns starting with this heart-breaker from Tank Worldwide  that highlights the appalling disparity in healthcare in America.

Last Lullaby | Dr. Shalon M Irving Maternal Action Project | Tank Worldwide

According to the Population Reference Bureau (PRB), Black women face a maternal mortality rate 3.5 times higher than that of white women, which increases to eight times higher in some cities. Shockingly, 84% of maternal deaths are preventable, says the CDC. To draw attention to these shameful statistics, Tank Worldwide has launched a new campaign that uses AI to recreate the voice of Dr. Shalon M. Irving, a CDC epidemiologist who died in 2017 due to preventable complications just weeks after giving birth. The AI technology utilized old footage and audio recordings to create the lullaby message in the video. Recent CDC data shows a 40% surge in maternal deaths in 2021, one of the worst increases in maternal mortality rates in U.S. history. The campaign titled, ‘Last Lullabye’ is a national awareness campaign launching at the cross-section of three critical and highly relevant cultural moments: Women’s History Month (March), Minority Health Month (April), and Black Maternal Health Week (w/o April 11).

I have already died | ALS

ALS (amyotrophic lateral sclerosis), also known as Motor Neurone Disease (MND), is an incurable disease of the nervous system. To raise funds for medical research and to raise awareness of the condition, the agency Publicis asked ALS patients and their loved ones to serve as ambassadors for the Foundation. As a result, nine Dutch ALS patients took part. They were filmed talking simply and frankly about the disease and asked for donations to the Foundation. The message they provided? 'Support the ALS Foundation Netherlands. But not for me, I have already died.' Yes, that’s right. Each of the nine patients had already died before their ads were aired. This hard-hitting campaign helped increase donations by 500%.

The Impossible Signing Session | BOL | DDB

Bol.com's challenge was to make their annual face-to-face meeting with customers at Antwerp's book fair unforgettable. They achieved this with the 'impossible signing sessions,' where eight famous authors signed non-stop for 12 days, including deceased Flemish poet Paul van Ostaijen. To take this to the next level, DDB Brussels collaborated with Antwerp Research & Design Lab Beyond to create a technological signing robot that mimics signatures and leaves personal messages. The signing arm was fine-tuned to imitate the writing as faithfully as possible, including the choice of pen, angle of writing, pressure on the paper, and writing speed.

The Team That Wouldn’t Be Here | First Responders

When Luke blows up the Death Star he saves millions of future lives and enjoys the rewards of a job well done. Verizon tells a similar story with this incredible campaign. The brand rewrote Superbowl campaign marketing by introducing a third team: a team of 11 current NFL players and a coach who wouldn’t be alive if first responders hadn’t received their emergency call. As the network that connects millions of emergency calls every day, each story of survival became a demonstration of their network reliability when it matters most.

#StillSpeakingUp Deeptruth | Reporters Sans Frontieres | Publicis

Mexico’s drug cartels are heard of world over, but perhaps a lesser-known fact is that more than 120 journalists have been killed since 2007 for investigating the crimes of these cartels. Propuesta Civica and Reports Sans Frontieres (Reporters Without Borders) united to raise awareness and to drive change to protect the freedom of the press through a hard-hitting message from a dead journalist. But how? By using Deep Fake technology, they brought Javier Valdes, a murdered journalist, ‘back from the dead’ to deliver a powerful message to Mexico’s president. After all, he can speak out now because the worst has already happened to him. The hard-hitting video resulted in 349 million organic impressions.  A Twitter account was also created under Valdes’ name to provide an anonymous platform for journalists to share their investigations safely.

Long Live The Prince | Kiyan Prince Foundation | Engine Group

Aged just 15, teenage football prodigy Kiyan Prince was stabbed to death in a knife attack defending a friend. On the 15th anniversary of his death, Kiyan Prince gets the chance to sign again for the senior squad at QPR, his former club. But this time he signs as a playable character on EA Sports’ Fifa 21 and so his spirit and legacy are allowed to live on. This touching campaign was created pro bono by Engine, in collaboration with EA Sports and the Kiyan Prince Foundation, which was set up by Prince’s father in 2007.

The Unfinished Votes | Change the Ref | McCann

Change the Ref, a nonprofit organization launched by Manuel and Patricia Oliver in memory of their son Joaquin and his peers who lost their lives in the Parkland shooting, launched an initiative called "The Unfinished Votes" to encourage young people to vote in the 2020 election. The campaign leveraged AI technology to bring Joaquin back to life digitally, urging people to finish the vote he was never able to cast. In the campaign film, Manuel and Patricia, alongside their late son, recruit voters to replace the ballots of gun violence victims.

Still Available In The Ocean | Fundacion Meri | Berlin

This eye-catching awareness campaign uses arresting imagery of artfully displayed vintage brands disguised as washed-up trash from the ocean. The brands shown have long since died but their destructive legacy lives on as the plastic used in the washed-up trash can take 500 years or more to decompose.