The U.S. incarcerates people at a rate higher than any country in the world. What we don’t talk about enough is what happens when people come home from prison. Are they actually free? Home/Free, a documentary short film from Slack, Next Chapter, FREEAMERICA, and the Equal Justice Initiative, shares the personal stories of individuals who have returned home from prison in order to answer this urgent question. There are thousands of obstacles – including systemic and cultural barriers to building a secure, skilled career – that stand in the way of real freedom.
Slack for Good is Slack’s philanthropic arm that aims to increase the number of historically underrepresented individuals in the technology industry. Next Chapter was established in partnership with Slack to create pathways for formerly incarcerated individuals to obtain gainful employment in the technology sector.
Narrated by singer-songwriter, producer, activist and FREEAMERICA founder John Legend, Home/Free authentically shares the stories of several formerly incarcerated individuals and their experiences re-entering society. The content series aims to challenge stereotypes and demonstrate how, by tearing down barriers, we can invest in that community and benefit as a whole. Goals include shifting perceptions around the formerly incarcerated to dispel societal prejudices; increasing public awareness and helping communities see re-enfranchisement as a positive and productive way to welcome people back; and inspiring audiences and stakeholders to get involved in driving action. There is power in walking with someone on their journey, to increase empathy, understanding, and ultimately propel systems change.
Propper Daley managed both the creative development and the digital release strategy for Home/Free, alongside Slack and its partners. Because we believe so deeply in the stories that this project brings to light, what actually started as short form content ended up evolving into a longer documentary. It was clear to us right from the start of filming that short form content was not going to be enough. We had the unique opportunity to share as much as possible about the barriers facing formerly incarcerated individuals to help inspire change and create opportunity. While extending this project from short form content to longer form meant that we might face some logistical hurdles, we were determined to make it happen. Propper Daley spearheaded creative development and led the entire production process from inception to final product. We led strategy and planning efforts for the content, including identifying the direction to create the most effective digital debut for Home/Free, collaborating with Slack to define goals and project guidelines, and establishing a timeline for paid and organic social media opportunities. We worked in tandem with Slack, leveraging the company’s marketing team’s resources, developing creative components and assets such as key art, film clips, the series trailer, and exclusive behind the scenes and ancillary content, and advising on the most effective approach to reach target audiences. Together, we used all of these elements for streamer intake, social media channels, talent seeding, press exclusives, blog seeding, and paid media driving views. In addition to the amplification of the series through paid media and events, Propper Daley helped execute against a calendar of key moments through partner digital channels and platforms.
Centered around the 30-minute documentary and augmented/amplified by individual, snackable pieces of content, Home/Free aims to reach three audiences: 1) C-suite business leaders that have the power to create opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals, 2) formerly incarcerated individuals who may not know that opportunities such as Next Chapter exist, and 3) the general public who may or may not be familiar with the challenges of formerly incarcerated individuals. We’re proud that our expertise in creative development and our management of the digital release strategy for Home/Free culminated in an effective and moving documentary that was released on Amazon Prime.
Home/Free asks what would be possible if we prioritized redemption and restoration, empowering those leaving incarceration with a real second chance. Slack for Good hopes to reach as many people as possible through an impactful digital campaign with an exclusive debut on a notable streaming platform, Amazon Prime.
Since its release on May 1st, Home/Free has received 139.3 million impressions across Google and social and 17.9 million impressions for ads on Amazon’s native ad network (as of June 9th). To celebrate the release of the film, Slack and the Aspen Institute hosted a private screening of Home/Free in Los Angeles for 50 tech sector executive leaders interested in supporting criminal justice reform and providing employment opportunities for formerly incarcerated individuals. The event included a panel discussion moderated by the LA Times and featuring John Legend, Sheena Meade (CEO of the Clean Slate Initiative), and Doug Hirsch (CEO of GoodRx). The trailer to the film then provided the opening to a panel on the main stage of the Milken Global Conference featuring John Legend, Sheena Meade, and Deepti Rohatgi (Executive Director of Slack for Good), about issues surrounding re-entering society after incarceration. MSNBC anchor Jonathan Capehart moderated the discussion. The audience of over 200 included world leaders in business, politics, public health and safety, and entertainment, and the panel was live streamed to thousands of online viewers, which we consider to be a success in terms of reach and impact.