Simple and Powerful, This Ad Filmed Girls as They Watched VP Kamala Harris Be Sworn In

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To some women of a certain age, who grew up with trailblazers like Gloria Steinem, Billie Jean King and Angela Davis, Wednesday’s inauguration of Kamala Harris was a miraculous payoff for decades of heavy lifting.

To kids reared in slightly more progressive times, watching a daughter of Jamaican and Indian immigrants become the country’s 49th vice president was an ultimate see-it-be-it moment. 

A new digital film called “Today We Rise” captures the history-making event through the eyes of girls (and a few brothers and moms) around the U.S. With the swearing-in ceremony as the backdrop, the video shows their real-time reactions, varying slightly by generation and ranging from awe and wonder to relief and joy. 

The campaign comes from Girl Up, a gender equality and leadership initiative from the United Nations Foundation, in partnership with Refinery29 and Ogilvy. Clocking in at just over a minute, the piece came together within hours of Harris reciting the oath of office to Supreme Court Justice Sonia Sotomayor, the first Latina to serve on the high court.

A network of photographers and cinematographers, all volunteers, shot the footage in about 30 U.S. households as girls tuned in to the event in Washington, D.C., via televisions, iPads and laptops. Editing for the quick-turnaround project happened immediately, and the short film launched late Wednesday with the tagline, “When one girl rises, all girls rise.”

Ogilvy execs decided against writing a script for the spot because “we wanted people to experience it through the faces that will shape the future,” said Daniel Fisher, global executive creative director. “Vice President Kamala Harris may be the first woman to hold high office in the U.S., but she won’t be the last.”

Melissa Kilby, Girl Up’s executive director, said Harris’ new role as the first Black and South Asian woman vice president “is about hope and possibilities—it’s about infinite potential, of every girl, everywhere. Girls seeing her taking the oath will grow up to remember the moment they believed they could do anything.”

The film, with social and digital distribution, will also be embedded in an essay from Simone Oliver, Refinery29’s global editor in chief.

“I’m not naive to think the swearing in of Madam Vice President Kamala Harris was the antidote for a nation in need,” Oliver said in a statement. “It was about representation and showing our girls what’s possible, and that possibility offers hope.”

CREDITS:

Client: Girl Up 

Melissa Kilby, Executive Director 
Beth Nervig, Director of Communications and Digital Media 
Jennifer DaSilva, Advisory Board Member, Girl Up and President, Berlin Cameron 

Agency – Ogilvy 
Daniel Fisher – Global ECD 
Alvaro Rivera — Creative Director / Creative 
Luca Corteggiano – Creative Director / Creative 
Sally Miller – Executive Producer 
Vanessa Manley – Project Manager 
Pumie Msengana – Global Client Director 
Cristina Diago – Strategist 

Production 
Giovanni Messner – Director/Editor 
Dannel Escallón – Cinematographer 
Daniel Addelson – Additional Photography 
UNIT Studios London– Post House 
Music – “Dream” 
Jack Bennett – Composer 
1107 Studios – Label 
Andrew Stafford @ Big Sync Music – Music Supervisor 

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