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Be The Bill

Be The Bill | Go Gentle Australia | Cummins & Partners
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Industry: Public interest & Non-profit
Media:Direct Market
Style: Minimalism

For the 5 weeks leading up to the parliamentary vote on 16 November 2016, people could, with one single click at, personalise the draft version of the official Voluntary Euthanasia Bill. The site allowed the supporter to replace the neutral legal word ‘person’, found throughout the Bill, with their own name, and have their Facebook profile picture placed on the document cover to create a new, highly personalised PDF version. This unique Bill was then automatically emailed to politicians with a direct request to read the personalised Bill and consider the individual while they did. The Bill could also be shared on the individual’s Facebook page, urging others to ‘Be The Bill’ too. We knew social posts containing a Voluntary Euthanasia Bill with the name and face of someone personally known would generate enormous social cut-through.

Over 1 million personalised bills were sent to voting politicians, crashing parliament’s email servers on the first day. had a conversion rate of over 30%. That’s 1 in 3 visitors who made a personalise Bill.‘Be The Bill’ garnered national attention on the news and 60 Minutes. Over 2.5 million people were reached with over $2.2 million in earned media – an 8000% ROI on media. Politicians couldn’t ignore ‘Be The Bill’ and it showed. The Bill passed a second reading stage in parliament with a vote of 27 to 19. This led to a debate until 4am where the final vote was split 23 for, 23 against. A result that finally put Voluntary Euthanasia on the nation’s political agenda. A result so narrow that two other Australian States have initiated a similar vote to capitalise on the support generated by ‘Be The Bill’.

Voluntary Euthanasia, as an abstract principle, is easy to argue against. But when you attach the argument from the perspective of real people who want to prevent suffering and decide their own fate, it becomes much harder to dispute. As such, our task was to determine how we personalise this issue and make it feel really human, instead of just an abstract law. Past campaigns have demonstrated that death-related shock tactics succeed in shocking, but not driving action. We also knew that Australian politicians have an obligation to receive all emails from people in their electorates and can’t block them due to their role as public servants. We saw an opportunity in this to create a deluge of personalised responses that politicians couldn’t ignore.Digital and social media offered us the opportunity not only to get mass reach, but to also personalise by interfacing with existing personal facebook data.

Surveys show that over 70% of Australians support voluntary euthanasia. But currently every attempt to pass a law in this country has been rejected by politicians. In truth, there’s almost no greater divide between politics and public opinion in Australia than when it comes to this issue. The majority of Australians want this highly personal choice for themselves, but it’s been perceived as too controversial an issue to get any real political traction. So when a new Voluntary Euthanasia Bill was introduced in South Australian parliament, our goal was to give the Australian public an easy but powerful platform to directly voice their support for this law in a way that politicians couldn’t easily ignore again.

‘Be The Bill’ was a social/digital project that allowed anyone to instantly personalise the actual draft version of the Voluntary Euthanasia Bill and send it directly to each politician. So when politicians read the Bill, they found a real person’s name throughout it, revealing the true human impact of their vote. One real person’s name in one Bill is emotional. Thousands of individual names in thousands of Bills is incredibly impactful - a cold piece of legal documentation was transformed into something very personal. Kylie Monaghan, a South Australian with terminal cancer, was the first to ‘Be the Bill’. She asked the public to get involved. Their Bills then became social content on Facebook to drive more and more people to create their own personalised Bills. This campaign made politicians see that the vote wasn’t about abstract legal principles but real people who want to make a very personal choice.

South Australia, one of the most religious and conservative states in Australia was about to vote on a Voluntary Euthanasia Bill that would spearhead similar laws across the country. ‘Be The Bill’ was a social/digital project that directly called upon politicians to examine the law from a new perspective. The project let individuals directly email politicians a personalised version of an official draft of the Voluntary Euthanasia Bill, with their face on the cover and their name throughout its pages - removing the abstract nature of the topic and forcing politicians to consider the real people impacted by their vote.
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Other credit:Entrant Company: CUMMINS & PARTNERS, Sydney, Australia
Additional Company: GO GENTLE AUSTRALIA, St Leonards, AUSTRALIA
Chief Strategy Officer, Adam Ferrier, Cummins&Partners Sydney
Executive Producer, Bill Doig, Cummins&Partners Sydney
Executive Digital Producer, Gemma Heyes, Cummins&Partners Sydney
Director of Digital, Tony Chilvers, Cummins&Partners Sydney
Creative Technologist, Andrew Rovenko, Cummins&Partners Sydney
Digital Designer, Tassio Guichard, Cummins&Partners Sydney
Executive Producer, Cameron Gray, THE POOL COLLECTIVE
Colourist, Ben Eagleton, THE POOL COLLECTIVE
Composer, Ramesh Sathiah, Song Zu
Cannes Lions International Festival of Creativity 2017
Shortlist Direct
Co-Creation & User Generated Content
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