This AR Lens Puts Social Justice Leaders Where Racist Monuments Once Stood

Color of Change crafts 'The Pedestal Project'

As the Black Lives Matter movement gained steam, statues of Confederate leaders across the land came crashing down. State and local governments removed many of these abominations from parks, town squares and public spaces, while protestors dismantled others.

Such actions left loads of empty bases of metal, stone and concrete, sad reminders of a nation's shame.

Now, for Black History Month, social justice organization Color of Change and BBDO have launched "The Pedestal Project." The Instagram-based augmented-reality experience lets folks use their phones to place virtual images of civil rights icons atop such newly vacant pedestals.

You'll get a taste for how it works in this teaser:

The Pedestal Project - Trailer

And here's a more detailed step-by-step guide:

The Pedestal Project - A Step-by-Step Guide

For the project, sculptor Spencer Evans created statuesque likenesses of former U.S. congressman and activist John Lewis, BLM co-founder Alicia Garza, and Chelsea Miller, who co-founded Freedom March NYC. BBDO then gave them 3-D life via CGI technology. Note Lewis's flapping tie. It's as if he's walking head-on into the winds of prejudice, determined to make things right.

The images live as AR lenses on Color of Change's IG page. When you open the lenses and point their phones at empty pedestals, you'll see Lewis, Garza and Miller appear in the spaces once occupied by statues of Confederate generals and politicians.

"These statues are a grotesque and painful reminder of inequality and oppression," says BBDO associate creative director Anshumani Khanna. "As more and more of them have come down, we saw an opportunity to celebrate a hopeful future."

This site lists locations of empty pedestals, though the lenses work anywhere, and the campaign works as an educational exercise with no IRL pilgrimage required. Naturally, you can take a screenshot or create a video for IG sharing, and the experience includes an audio overlay, with each subject discussing why righteous change is worth fighting for.

"We wanted to use technology so that people all over could have a new tool to power change," adds Jess Andrews, also an ACD at BBDO.

The initiative drives users to an online petition that demands the removal of every Confederate symbol in America. "Our ultimate goal is to one day see permanent statues of our activists go up on these pedestals," Andrews adds.


"The Pedestal Project" x Color of Change
AR Lens & Videos

Creative Agency:  BBDO New York 
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Executive Creative Directors: Daniela Vojta & Susan Young
Associate Creative Directors: Anshumani Khanna & Jess Andrews
Executive Producer, Content: Jessica Coccaro
Producer, Content: Star Wingate-Bey
Senior Music Producer: Julia Millison
Music Production Intern: Katie Theobalds
Executive Producer, Digital: James Young
Producer, Digital: Philip Peker 
Art Producer: Ilona Siller
Art Producer: Lizzy Lehn
Designer: Melanie Coyne
Animator: Antoine Jones 
Managing Director: Steven Panariello
SVP Senior Director: Lindsey Cash
Account Manager: Dani Gredoña
Account Manager: Alexandra Castellanos
VP Strategy Director: Jen Leung 
VP Communications Director: Kate Kelley
Communications Manager: Kaley Turner
SVP Production Services Director: Jessica Nugent
Business Manager: Grace Kelly

Color of Change
President: Rashad Robinson
Sr. Director of Communications: Amity Paye 
Senior Communications Manager: Jocelyn Walker
Social Media & Content Manager: Nia Porter 
Social Media & Content Manager: Ryan Mattimore 
Social Media & Content Coordinator: Jiya Pinder
Special Projects and Partnerships Manager: Alexsys Grishaber

PR agency: H&S Communications
Co-Founder & Chief Executive Officer: Elizabeth Harrison
SVP, Brand Engagement: Veronica Rodriguez
VP, Corporate Communications: Max Buccini
Director of Lifestyle: Lauren Monroe
Director of Media Relations: Anina Bose
Director of Brand Engagement, Talent: Luis Braga
Account Supervisor, Influencer Relations: Heidi Smolevitz

Statue Sculpture Artist: Spencer Evans

Production Company 3D Statues: Happy Finish 
President / COO: Toby Roberts
VP of U.S. Business Development: Joshua Parish
Producer: Nicole Fitzhugh
CG Supervisor: Matt Painter
CG Artist: Benjamin Allen
CG Artist: Flavio Novi
CG Artist: Sam Windom

Production Company: BBDO Studios
Line Producer: Jon Shu
DP: Morgan Ammons
Add'l Footage: The Syndicate
EP: Lindsey McLemore & Julia Galvin
Shooters: Veronica Proudford & Eleanor Murray-Mendelson

Editorial Company "Launch" & "How To": BBDO Studios
Editor: Alex Lubars
Studio Director: Andre Rowe Jr.
Senior Producer: Allie Kolb

Stock Footage: Getty Images

UGC Curation: Catch & Release

Editorial Company "Teaser" Film: Rock Paper Scissors
Editor: Aaron Tompkins
Assistant Editors: Noah Benezra
Executive Producer: Eve Kornblum
Producer: Jenny Greenfield

Telecine Company: MPC 
Senior Colorist: James Tillett
Executive Producer: Chris Connolly 
Producer: Kay Carpenter

Conform / Finish Company: MPC 
Creative Director/Flame Lead: Tom McCullough 
Flame Assist: Marcus Wood
After Effects Artist: David Manzo
Executive Producer: Camila De Biaggi 
Senior Producer: Anna Kravtsov

Music: Pulse
Composer: Charles Humenry for Pulse Music
Executive Producer: Dan Kuby 

Audio Post: 
Chief Engineer: Cory Bauman

Casting Director: Janet Eisenberg

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