UNSILENCED

Short List
ClientLA PAROLE AUX SOURDS
Category E08. Excellence in Music Video
TitleUNSILENCED
Product/ServiceLA PAROLE AUX SOURDS
Entrant BETC Paris, FRANCE
Idea Creation BETC Paris, FRANCE
Production INSURRECTION Paris, FRANCE
Production 2 MATHEMATIC Paris, FRANCE
Production 3 GUM Paris, FRANCE
Production 4 BETC Paris, FRANCE
Credits
Name Company Position
Stéphane Xiberras BETC CCO
David Martin Angelus BETC Creative Director
Erika Reyes BETC Art Director
Nick Bakshi BETC Copywriter
Rémi Lascault, Aline Aflalo BETC Assistant art director
Kevin Fines BETC Assistant art director
Christophe Caurret BETC Music Creative Director
Alexandre Many GUM Music art director
Florine Perrault GUM Music producer
Arno Moria, Theo Gall Insurrection Producer
Alban Coret Insurrection Director
Hugo Lemant Insurrection Editor
Guillaume Marien, Julie Lagadec Mathematic Producer
Billy Read NA Dancer
Haute NA Original soundtrack
Charlotte Bals, David Martin Angelus BETC Agency Management
Gabrielle Portnoi, Deborah Portnoi La parole aux sourds Brand Management

Why is this work relevant for Entertainment?

In order to help bridge the gap between the deaf and hearing communities, we created Unsilenced: the first original song composed to be sung entirely through sign language and dance. Though at first, the film appeared to be a stylish music video for an instrumental song, when viewers arrived at the end, they realized that the dancer they’d been watching had been singing in sign language the entire time. Viewers were then directed to an interactive website where they could “unsilence” the lyrics and reveal the powerful message hidden in the words.

Background

Though more than 70 million people around the world depend on sign language to communicate, most of us can’t even recognize the most basic signs, leaving deaf people completely isolated from their neighbours, colleagues and acquaintances. Our brief was to help French non-profit La Parole aux Sourds (which roughly translates to “A Microphone for the Deaf”) direct hearing people to a website where they could enroll in sign language classes. Importantly, we didn’t want to make hearing people pity the deaf; we wanted to inspire them to learn sign language by showing them what they were missing.

Describe the creative idea

Unsilenced is the first original song sung entirely through sign language and dance. Though at first, it appeared to be a stylish music video for an instrumental, electro-pop song; by the time the viewer arrived at the end, they realized the dancer they’d been watching had been singing in sign language the entire time. From there, viewers were directed to an interactive website where they could “unsilence” the lyrics and reveal the powerful message hidden in the words.

Describe the strategy

Language creates a wall that isolates the deaf from the hearing. In order to break that wall, we needed to convince the hearing community that sign language was a rich and beautiful language, and that it was the key to unlocking a world of unique and interesting voices. We decided to create a music video precisely because “singing” is something most people assume can’t be done through sign language. By hiding our message in a dance, we brought attention to just how little the average person knows about sign language, and how easy it is to overlook a language that’s all around us.

Describe the execution

The music video and website were launched on March 7, 2018. With no paid media, the project relied on a surgical PR strategy and good word of mouth in order to ensure a successful roll-out. We tapped influencers and seeded the story with the deaf, music and advertising communities using custom press kits and graphics. Compelled by the campaign, France’s largest chain of cinemas, MK2, offered two weeks of free media, screening the music video before films in all of their theatres.

Describe the outcome

With no paid media, the video received an aggregate of over 1 million views – through various media channels and thanks to two weeks of free media in cinemas - and 25 million media impressions, with press coverage from across France, including TV interviews on French channel LCI and Belgium’s La Une. The PR is valued at more than $500k in earned media. Additionally, the video was nominated at the Berlin Music Video Awards, the Krakow Film Festival, and Spain’s Promofest. The video was also screened throughout Les Eurockéennes, one of France’s largest music festivals As a result, traffic to the La Parole Aux Sourds website increased by 247%, with an average visit time of 2:45. Donations went up a staggering 2300%, which enabled the organization to launch its first sign-language course. The inaugural session is already fully booked.