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One Small Step

The culture of contempt has put our country in peril. 9 out of 10 Americans are exhausted by the political polarization and want to find a way out. In 2018, the national storytelling organization, StoryCorps started One Small Step, a program that pairs two people from different ends of the political spectrum to have a guided conversation about life, not politics.

: Culture

/ Brand

/ Creative

/ Post

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The dream with One Small Step is to convince the country that it's our patriotic duty to see the humanity in people with whom we disagree.

Dave Isay,

Founder of StoryCorps’ One Small Step

Let's not talk politics.

In 2021, StoryCorps came to IDW to develop a campaign to raise awareness and participation in One Small Step across four anchor cities. We partnered with market research firm, Benenson Strategy Group, to determine which of our concepts would resonate most. We landed on a direction rooted in the refreshingly straightforward “Let’s talk…” call-to-action.

Because audio content is at the heart of StoryCorps, we worked to define a simple video format for One Small Step to make interviews easier to follow, and enable sharing across social and digital touchpoints.

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The participants we captured were as diverse as the cities they lived in — Fresno (CA), Richmond (VA), Oklahoma City (OK), and Wichita (KS). They often upended expectations of what a conservative or liberal should “look like”.

Returning to our anchor cities.

In 2023, we returned to three cities, this time with a video team to capture participants and their interviews. Based on quantitative testing by More in Common, we doubled down on messages that addressed three tiers of belonging: the individual, the community, and the nation. Applications are now up 70%.

Wichita, Kansas

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Fresno, California

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Richmond, Virginia

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We were moved by the open-heartedness participants showed for one another, as well as the love & hope they held for their cities.

Bringing the campaign to DC. 1.3M impressions and counting.

One Small Step had ambitions to share the voices of participants with members of Congress. We know we needed to infuse a sense of urgency in this next round of the campaign to reach busy staffers and policymakers. Working alongside Civic and Hamburger Group Creative, we identified which event and channels were best to target.

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We settled on the Congressional Baseball Game, one of only bipartisan events left in which Republicans and Democrats can connect as people. We recorded an interview between Congress members Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and William Timmons (SC-4), then worked to craft a video to air on the jumbotron.

In addition to a Washington DC media campaign, the 60s One Small Step spot ran live at the Congressional Baseball game — reaching players, the President, and fans on both sides of the aisle. So far, we’re at 1.3 million impressions and counting.

There’s only a game if two sides are willing to play with one other. The point is to embrace our differences, not all aim towards ‘purple’.

We are just two friends who don't know each other yet.


Richmond Participant

We’ve seen first-hand that we’re not as divided as we might think, that all of us have stories that might draw one another closer.

More in Common

Benenson Strategy


Hamburger Group Creative

Drew Kelly & Andrew Birchett

Damon Young

Representatives Cheri Bustos (IL-17) and William Timmons (SC-4)

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