Muslim, Gay, Terrorist, Christian, Black, Brown, Refugee, Foreigner… the walls that divide us have many names. Each name comes with a perceived value and worth. After the recent tragedy #Orlandoshooting in Florida, I wonder if we have gotten closer to answering these questions? Have we found a way to know whose life matters more or has more value? Of course this sounds crass and provacative, but really could we just look at someone and figure it out? What if we look at their family name? Profession? Or perhaps nationality? Ethnicity? While it seems obvious that implicit bias is not way of measuring ones worth, that is the focal point for this powerful PSA by Momondo. It asks who belongs to whom and who should we include.
The premise of the video begins with each person claiming their supremacy – something perhaps more often said in our thick skulls than out loud – but non-the less these are thoughts we humans do have. It is fascinating to hear statements that can only emerge from a collective memory each nation teaches its children.
“I am proud to be English, my people defended this country and went to war for this country.”
“I am very patriotic about Bangladesh.”
“We are probably the best country in the world, if I am honest.”
The PSA continues by asking the participants to give a large sample of spit to test their DNA to see where they are really from. While this is naturally part of the DNA collecting process, I found it rather poetic that the rudimentary way in which we find how we are all connected is in itself an act that is uncivilized and savage at its core. When the results of the DNA test are finally shared we all collectively along with the participants have an ‘aha moment’… “YES…we are all connected, of course you belong to me and I belong to you.” This is what we always knew but somehow the DNA now draws us together, like a magnet. In a way it reminded me of the magnetic attraction some adopted children have towards finding their biological mother. It reminds us all that we are roots from the same tree.
This PSA is one part of a larger campaign by the travel company to sell ‘purpose’ and ‘existential fulfillment’ as the reason to travel and see the world. This approach is much more in the social marketing vein of advertising – looking for that core product to sell. In this case it is building empathy and community across stereotypes and discrimination. I have seen travel agencies sell the augmented product for social good such as travel for volunteering or ecotourism, but this is not that… travel where you may, enjoy every minute just make sure that the human connection is front and center. In many ways Momondo is selling brotherhood. After #Orlando I hope all of us are buying it.