ROE V. WADE—’FORCED MOTHER’S DAY’ CAMPAIGN FROM GSD&M TAKES ON ABORTION CONTROVERSY
The Austin-based agency created a website where visitors will be able to share the card virtually or physically with federal and state representatives.
by Brian Bonilla for AdAge. Published on May 06, 2022
With Mother’s Day a couple of days away, the holiday has a bittersweet feeling for many after a Supreme Court draft opinion leaked earlier this week, suggesting the landmark 1973 Roe v. Wade ruling on abortion rights may soon be overturned. As protests rage on against the potential ruling, several brands are still celebrating the holiday while likely weighing the options of making a statement about the sensitive issue.
Austin, Texas-based agency GSD&M is making sure its stance on the matter is clear, with a campaign that flips a traditional Mother’s Day card into a call to action for people to speak up on behalf of the pro-choice movement.
The agency created a website, forcedmothersday.com, where visitors will be able to choose between three different cards that have a front that reads, “Happy Forced Mother’s Day.” Inside the card reads, “To the mother with everything except the right to choose…” with the back putting a pin on the simple message: “This could be the reality very soon. Fight back. ForcedMothersDay.com.”
Upon visiting the site a short paragraph starts off by saying, “Moms are great. But no one should be forced to become one.” The paragraph then continues to explain that 26 states are “likely” to ban abortion outright if the Supreme Court’s decision goes through. Texas, where the agency is based, banned all abortions after six weeks of pregnancy.
The site also includes a search tool where people can access the contact information of the representatives in their state. Users will have the option to share the card either through social media, by downloading a video of the card, or by printing a card.
“It’s important for people across the country to speak up,” Duff Stewart, CEO of GSD&M, said. “We always get motivated to speak up, particularly when there’s an issue we disagree with and healthy dialogue is good. So speaking up on behalf of choice, people don’t have to agree ultimately with that woman’s decision, but the key is protecting that person’s right to choose. It’s not my choice or your choice or somebody else’s choice, it’s their choice.”
The idea came about after the agency asked its employees to open up about any ideas they might have on tackling the issue. The idea originally came from GSD&M employees Leigh Browne, creative director, writer; and Jon Williamson, creative director, art director.
“The leadership team met on Tuesday morning and then put out the call asking, ‘Hey creatives, what ideas do you have? How can we fight this?’” Browne said. “So quickly Jon and I, we have some heart for this issue and we started concepting a little bit,” Browne said. “A friend of mine had written a post online where she was saying that she was so disappointed that Mother’s Day was going to feel really morbid this year and it was more like forced Mother’s Day and we just instantly knew, that was the idea.”
This isn’t the first time GSD&M has created work around a controversial human rights topic. In 2017, the agency launched an “I Pee with LGBT” campaign in protest of Texas legislation critics said was anti-transgender. Last year, creative directors Dale Austin and Brandon Curl introduced “Hear My Voice,” a picture book for older children, illustrating and sharing the experiences of immigrant children detained at the Texas border between Mexico and the U.S. The book was co-authored by International Children’s Rights scholar and advocate Warren Binford.
“It’s part of our DNA,” Maria D’Amato, executive creative director at GSD&M said. “GSD&M has a long history of taking a stand on these kinds of social issues and when they happen, unfortunately too often, we know that Duff and the executive team will fully support us, going to bat, to support women, to support people who are affected by these types of laws and these types of issues.”