Creating a Reimagined and Powerful In Concert Against Hate for ADL

The foundation of the annual ADL (Anti-Defamation League) In Concert Against Hate is shining a light on the incredible acts of courage, empathy, and compassion performed by everyday heroes when confronted with hatred, bigotry and ignorance. Sparks was trusted to create ADL’s In Concert Against Hate - a 25-year old event that needed to be re-imagined for a much larger virtual audience than its in-person program.

In the wake of the program transforming from an in-person experience to an online event, ADL engaged our team to develop and deploy a custom virtual show solution, drive the program’s content development strategy and bring a fresh, visual identity. Our primary objective was to amplify the ADL’s mission (while staying true to their recently updated brand) by telling individual stories of bravery and courage through a new lens.

Building An Opening Moment

ADL needed to garner the attention of thousands of new audience members, excite their long-time donors and attendees, and capture engagement from the very beginning for their first virtual program. From the beginning of the ADL In Concert Against Hate content strategy, Sparks set out to change the traditional opening sizzle that highlighted current events and aim instead for an emotional, heartwarming message anyone could endorse. As a result, top recording artists were brought together to cover a well-known song by Stevie Wonder - a known song with a strong message and big recognition factor. Musicians were filmed in a multi-camera session in a recording studio, and user generated content was collected from a number of ADL voices - all answering the call “How do you fight hate for good?” The resulting opener became a rally cry for the show and even cued up call back clips to run during the closing show credits.

Celebrating the Honorees

A major component in the ADL In Concert Against Hate content strategy was conceptualizing the program’s three Honoree segments, celebrating the unique individuals who embody the values of ADL and are at the heart of In Concert Against Hate.

Through the writing, casting, filming, and editing process for the original short film segments, Sparks told the story of each Honoree and their impact on the world, each with a different storytelling approach that authentically represented who they were.

A Concert for All

As part of the overall ADL In Concert Against Hate, Sparks reenvisioned the musical direction of the program. Moving away from the tradition of incorporating a symphonic-only show, a slate of musicians was assembled from different genres to attract a broader set of interests. Ultimately the vision and story of the show was developed as songs and final artist selections were made to make for an impactful and engaging show flow. Talent included Ifetayo Ali-Landing from the Sphinx Organization, Kenny Loggins, Jason Isbell, Andra Day, Aloe Blacc, and Adam Levine.

The Results

Through a mix of creative storytelling, varied film techniques, graphics design, video editing, script writing and show direction, Sparks created a memorable In Concert Against Hate for ADL. The show was supported by the Sparks proprietary event platform, Virtu, and streamed on ADL’s official YouTube channel. The content will also live on to help ADL raise awareness in the future. The show saw its largest audience ever and achieved its fundraising goals.

Sparks Scope:

  • Revised show concept and story with content and audience journey strategy
  • Strategic development of the overall program narrative and honoree segment concepts
  • Storyboarding of filming sequences for the opening moment and honoree segments
  • Identification of relevant artist/talent for opening moment and pairings with each Honoree
  • Creative direction of programming and show flow creation
  • Technical direction and full production including filming, editing, graphics and animations