Omnicom’s BBDO teamed with racial-justice advocacy group Color of Change to launch The Pedestal Project, an augmented-reality experience on Instagram that lets users place virtual statues of civil-rights stalwarts, such as the late Congressman John Lewis, atop empty pedestals where Confederate memorials once stood.
The idea is to supplant symbols of racial oppression with icons of equality and progress.
Color Of Change has advocated for the removal of the controversial memorials — including leaders of the Confederacy and its army generals like Robert E. Lee — for many years.
In addition to Lewis, the campaign launches with two other racial-justice luminaries: Alicia Garza, co-founder of the Black Lives Matter Movement and principal at Black Futures Lab, and Chelsea Miller, co-founder of Freedom March NYC.
The Pedestal Project Instagram Lens is activated via a mobile device on the Color of Change Instagram page. Users then locate empty pedestals in their communities where Confederate symbols once stood. With the lens activated, users will be able to select from a gallery of statues, place it atop an empty pedestal and in the activists' own voice, hear why change is worth fighting for.
"In their time, white nationalist officials erected statues of Confederate leaders for a reason — to send a message about who should dominate this country, and to put Black people in our place," said Rashad Robinson, president of Color Of Change. "In our time, Confederate statues continue to encourage white nationalists who are hell bent on resisting progress. It's not enough to remove them, we must replace them with symbols of a just vision of America.”
Added Garza: “The Pedestal Project allows us to imagine a United States that was committed to remembering rather than forgetting, a country striving toward equality and justice."
BBDO’s work on the project was pro bono. Project highlights are provided in this video.