Joaquin Oliver, who was gunned down at his high school in Parkland, Florida, on Valentine's Day 2018, has been very visible in the lead-up to the 2020 election—thanks to his parents, Patricia and Manuel, who keep his memory alive while campaigning to end gun violence through their organization Change the Ref.
Joaquin has made appearances as a cardboard cutout at more than a dozen Major League Baseball parks in recent weeks. And now, he appears to speak from beyond the grave—in a new video from McCann Health that uses A.I. and deepfake technology to reanimate the late teenager, who delivers an impassionate appeal for viewers to vote in the election and use their voice to push for more sensible gun laws.
Patricia Oliver, clearly emotional in the video's introduction, acknowledges that it is difficult for her to watch. Indeed, it's heartbreaking for other viewers as well, as Joaquin pleads with us to exercise the right he'll never have again.
"I've been gone for two years, and nothing's changed, bro," Joaquin's avatar declares, over ominous music. "People are still getting killed by guns. What is that? Everyone knows it, but they don't do anything. I'm tired of waiting for someone to fix it."
He adds: "The election in November is the first one I could have voted in. But I'll never get to choose the kind of world I wanted to live in. So you've got to replace my vote. ... Vote for politicians who care more about people's lives than the gun lobby's money. Vote for people not getting shot, bro! I mean, vote for me. Because I can't. We've got to keep on fighting. And we've got to end this."
The UnfinishedVotes.com site offers tools for voter registration and tells more of Joaquin's story. It also has a form where those who have lost loved ones to shootings can enter information about the incident—their info will appear on to recruit new voters to the cause.
Created by: McCann Health NY in Partnership with Change the Ref
Global Chief Creative Officer: Matt Eastwood
Chief Creative Officer NY: June Laffey
Executive Creative Director: Tim Jones
Group Creative Director/Copy Writer Josh Grossberg
Creative Director/Art Director: Fabio Rodrigues
Associate Creative Director/Designer: Felipe Leite
Director of Integrated Production: Ed Zazzera
Producer: Eva Pipa
Senior Project Manager: Regine LeConte
Group Account Supervisor: Warren Wyatt
Production Company: The Colony
Director: David Gaddie
Producer: Joe Durkin
Graphic Designer: Shruti Ashok
Additional Producer: Alan Melillo
Editorial Company: Bandit
Editor: Peter Sabatino
Visual Effects Company: LightFarm
Creative Consultant: Framestore
Color Grade: Chimney
Composer: Yessian Music
Mix Studio: Sonic Union