In a rapidly-changing world fraught with group-targeted hate, Holocaust survivors speak with authority and offer timeless insight. We know their words of wisdom and hope resonate strongly with audiences, inspiring them to learn more and take action to build a better future. We have a responsibility to help survivor voices reach as many individuals as possible, while it is still possible
To this end, the United States Holocaust Memorial Museum launched a social/digital awareness campaign on Holocaust Remembrance Day (January 27, 2023) as part of a year-long initiative to commemorate the Museum’s 30th anniversary.
The campaign featured Holocaust survivors talking about everyday objects in the Museum's collection—a diary, a pair of boots, a letter—that hold deep meaning to them personally and serve as enduring evidence of the Holocaust. Our objective was to reach as many young people as possible on these platforms(Tiktok, Facebook, Instagram and Youtube), because as Holocaust survivors that volunteer at the Museum recently stated, “memory and education become more important with each passing year.”
USHMM partnered with Formerly Known As to create a concept that featured survivor stories, to empower, educate, and elevate advocacy-minded younger audiences to come together and create a more equitable future.
To be undeniable is to be plainly true. And nothing is more plainly—and in this case, painfully—true than the powerful images and objects that capture the physical and emotional truth of the Holocaust. Leveraging USHMM’s ability to help keep the experiences of victims and witnesses alive, “Undeniable Truth” goes a step further, providing powerful testimony that reaffirms history, reignites the stories deep within, and fills in the blanks that objects alone cannot.
And no matter how painful to relive, survivors find the strength to tell their stories to educate generations that the Undeniable Truth is that What You Do Matters.
Bringing the Truth to Life
We created stories that fuse vessels of truth—objects, artifacts, photos, documents, videos, and more evidence of this horrific history—and survivor testimony to become a powerhouse of Undeniable Truth. We found artifacts that audiences could relate to, that held great meaning, and revealed stories that could be told with great impact in less than 30 seconds. Using both existing media and new production, 12 ads were created.
These 12 compelling social media videos featured in paid ads and organic posts gave voice to living witnesses, sharing not just their stories, but the profound significance of artifacts that bear witness to their resilience.
Our storytelling unfolded across the dynamic landscapes of Facebook, Instagram, and TikTok. Every three months, four videos were released, each one featuring a powerful survivor story to keep our audience engaged and interested in this campaign.
Driven by an unwavering commitment to reach new generations, we expanded our efforts to include YouTube Shorts, where our stories continued to resonate strongly with the 18-34 age demographic. The emotions and storytelling of survivors transcended platforms and captivated a global audience.
Our campaign proved a resounding success, achieving our goals of raising awareness, educating, and inspiring. Boasting over 40 million video views, the Undeniable Truth campaign exceeded expectations, fostering a widespread and impactful digital conversation. Social media users enthusiastically shared our videos 4,000 times, amplifying the reach and establishing a community-driven dialogue.
In the targeted 18-34 demographic, we gained over 25,000 new followers on Tiktok, a testament to the campaign's resonance with the digitally savvy audience we aimed to engage. Beyond metrics, the campaign elicited an outpouring of positive comments, affirming its role in illuminating a dark chapter of history and underscoring the importance of our work.
Some of the comments we received are:
This success is not merely numerical; it's a testament to the campaign's ability to spark meaningful conversations, serve as a beacon of remembrance, and foster understanding. The collective response from our audience reinforces our belief that strategic storytelling has the power to not only meet but exceed our objectives, leaving a lasting impact on the digital landscape and the minds of those who engage with our content.