McKinney Ten Percent project informs local voters - McKinney

McKinney Ten Percent project informs local voters

May 2, 2012

We love working and living in North Carolina and want to make sure it remains a place where everyone’s rights are protected. This was the gist of a conversation between Chief Creative Officer Jonathan Cude and Group Creative Director Ellen Steinberg last Friday afternoon. Unfortunately, if Amendment One passes on May 8, the rights of many North Carolinians, not only those in same-sex unions, would be severely threatened.

Why? Marriage between a man and a woman would become the only valid, recognized domestic legal union, making all other unions invalid and unrecognized. That’s a problem.

Another problem is the language used to talk about the amendment. “The formal legalese-sounding language makes the consequences of Amendment One difficult for many North Carolinians to understand,” explains Ellen. “I wanted to do two things: Incite in others the same feeling Jonathan and I were generating — the feeling of ‘No!’ — and cement the language that the official ballot will use by engraining the word against as the logical answer to the controversial questions.”

They enlisted other McKinney folks and created a website with a collection of printable, shareable flyers that do both. The provocative, simple messages are void of legalese. Voting against Amendment One means, for example, voting against “Hit her” and against “Hurt thy neighbor.” To see and share the images, go to

“As a creative person in advertising, I feel responsible,” says Ellen, “to use the same creative powers of persuasion we use for our clients to affect change when something awful is about to happen to our state.” Thanks to the McKinney Ten Percent, a program that encourages everyone to use 10 % of their time focusing on creative projects unrelated to client business, they were able to create Vote Against One on the clock.

“It’s an issue that matters,” concurs Jonathan “because it affects folks at McKinney, our friends and family. Vote Against One is a meaningful campaign and if shared enough could affect change.”

Being empowered enough to make something this hard-hitting during (and beyond) work hours with agency resources and without having to ask permission — it’s unusual. It reflects one of the five words we live by at McKinney: believe.