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This Campaign for Women’s Equality Reinvents the Petition

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It has been 100 years since the Equal Rights Amendment, which explicitly prohibits sex discrimination, was introduced to Congress. Yet over the past century, it has still not been signed into law, meaning that women are not guaranteed equal rights to men under the U.S. Constitution. 

A new campaign, created by agency Ogilvy for former Rep. Carolyn Maloney (D-N.Y.) and the ERA Coalition, aims to galvanize the discontent of women and finally enshrine the ERA into the Constitution. It is unique both for creating an easier way of signing a petition and also being designed specifically for social media to reach a younger generation.  

The idea behind “Shout for Equality” is purposefully simple: Turn people’s shouts into signatures. 

“[The fact that the ERA isn’t recognized in the Constitution] does make you want to shout. We thought, ‘What if we get everyone to shout for equality and use that as a signature?’” Lisa Bright, chief creative officer of Ogilvy California, told ADWEEK.

The campaign uses existing SMS technology. It works like this: A person texts “ERA” to a number or scans the QR code. A chatbot prompts them to input their name and ZIP code and shout via an audio message. The application then creates a badge with their signature that will be added to the petition and can also be shared on social media. 

While signing a petition can be a tedious process, with this initiative, “ease and simplicity was the key. It’s about that accessibility and meeting people where they are,” said Bright. 

The “shout” is also important, because the ERA Coalition and Ogilvy wanted to “connect to an emotion and deliver to women why they need to care about this,” Bright added. Many Americans are unaware of this inequality, with 80% saying they think that women have equal protection under the Constitution.

“Most people think we are protected and safe,” Bright said. “When you realize that we’re not actually legally protected, it’s scary and unnerving.” 

Social media is also a central part of the campaign’s strategy. Ogilvy and the coalition are working with influencers and adapting the tool for channels including TikTok, Instagram and LinkedIn.  

“Women have been protesting for 100 years. But how do we actually galvanize the generation this is going to affect? We have to go to the platforms and places where they’re engaging, which is on their phones and social,” Bright said. 

Maloney is spearheading the effort along with the coalition and its over 300 partner organizations. She will use this campaign to generate mass awareness and take the signatures to Congress, hopefully before the November presidential election, Bright explained. 

In that time, the campaign is likely to evolve to continue reaching more people, Bright said. 

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