TACKLING WHITE PRIVILEGE WITH SATIRE
MTV asked us to come up with a way to generate conversation about a challenging subject: white privilege. We had to find a way to reach audiences that don't usually want to talk about these issues, or are ignorant of them entirely. We decided the best way to generate conversation is to do something provocative, something surprising that would demand a reaction. So 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.
We launched the project as a multi-media, multi-technology campaign to reach the broadest audience possible and maximize the opportunities for delivering our message. A 90-second TV spot aired on MTV and partner channels and also spread online. A fully realized website accompanied the TV spot, providing 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 campaign felt so real that people were struck with an “omg wtf” feeling, generating thousands of comments and conversations.