Now that a deal for nuclear diplomacy with Iran is well in the bag it’s easy to forget just how much opposition it faced in the first half of 2015. Anticipating that a deal would be reached by August, Global Zero asked ART NOT WAR to create a piece of media to rally much-needed public support as the fierce battle for approval was waged in Congress.
Out of all the ideas we pitched to Global Zero, they chose our favorite, which happened to be the craziest and, not coincidentally, just what was needed to stand out and lead the conversation on the only viable alternative to war with Iran.
We made a video starring Jack Black, Morgan Freeman, Natasha Lyonne, and Iranian national Farshad Farahat, engaged in a funny and weird conversation with prominent experts on foreign diplomacy Queen Noor, Valerie Plame, and former Ambassador Thomas Pickering. And a week after the deal was reached, as Congress engaged in deliberations, we released it in partnership with the Huffington Post.
Our piece was an instant sensation. In less than a week’s time it garnered 2.45 million views online and 4.4 million on TV. The video was featured in over 300 global print and online articles with over 900 million impressions worth an estimated $6.5 million in earned media. And outreach to ART NOT WAR’s network of influencers resulted in social media mentions by people like Sting, Olivia Wilde, Russell Simmons, Mark Ruffalo, and Moby.
Our video drove more than 6,500 phone calls to Senate. And the executive director of the National Iranian American Council referred to our video as “the catalyst that turned the tide of congressional public opinion in our favor.” But perhaps best of all, the piece found an audience at the State Department and White House. Just two days after the video’s release, President Obama (we hope maybe not coincidentally???) pivoted his messaging on the Iran deal to the central message of our video: that support for diplomacy with Iran was the only path to peace.