BLACK & ABROAD - GO BACK TO AFRICA

Black & Abroad is an American travel brand serving members of the Black community.

Between 1525 and 1866, more than 12.5 million African people were taken from their communities, loaded onto ships, brought to the West, and forced into slavery. The tools of oppression were varied. In addition to physical violence, language played a key role, including the dehumanizing “n word”, the emasculating “boy”, and the alienating, “Go back to Africa.” Used against a Black person, the phrase means, “you are not welcome in this country.” In 2019, the phrase appears with a high frequency in news headlines, viral videos and more than 5,000 times a month on social platforms. (Netbase, 2019.)

Our brief: Reinforce Black & Abroad’s position as a market leader in redefining world experiences for the modern Black traveler.

 

Objectives:

Reclaim the phrase “Go Back To Africa”.

Build equity for the Black & Abroad brand.

The idea: Go Back To Africa

A pan-African tourism campaign that turns a racial slur into an uplifting call to action.

 

We hijack hateful uses of the phrase “Go Back To Africa” as they happen on Twitter. Redact the racist context. Then use them as headlines for hyper-targeted ads for each of Africa’s 54 countries.

#1. Displace the hate.

Prior to launch, online search results for the phrase “Go Back To Africa” were almost unanimously negative. We saw value in establishing a positive counterpoint that exists in the same space. It’s why the campaign is called, “Go Back To Africa”. It’s why the website exists at GoBackToAfrica.com. And why our ads were active in hijacking hate as it happens. All efforts and others were in strategic service of crowding out hate.

 

#2. Rewrite the narrative

If we were successful in displacing the hate, we need to replace it with something. So, once the creative had dealt with its hateful source material, the tone shifts to relentless positivity. Here’s where we celebrate Africa, where we draw attention to the diversity of its 54 countries, and where we address the lack of representation of Black people in commercial travel imagery.

Paul Hanlon. 

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