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ESPN And ABC Launch The Choose Kindness Project PSA, Website

PSAs feature Emmy Award-winning and Abbott Elementary actress Sheryl Lee Ralph and SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi

Earlier this week, ESPN and ABC launched The Choose Kindness Project PSA (Public Service Announcement) and website — designed to provide resources for caring adults to help young people — during the College Football Playoff National Championship.

The Choose Kindness Project, which is supported by ABC, ESPN, the College Football Playoff Foundation, and the Walton Family Foundation, is dedicated to inspiring a more inclusive world where all young people feel empowered to be themselves and safe to create the futures they imagine.

“Abbott Elementary” star Sheryl Lee Ralph (above) and SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi are featured in the Choose Kindness PSAs (ESPN)

The initiative, which includes an alliance of 20-plus nonprofit thought leaders, centers around three key areas:

  • Bullying prevention
  • Intentional inclusion
  • Youth mental wellness

The PSA is a fresh look at using humor to grab parents’ attention and was created by the Disney and ESPN CreativeWorks teams. It features Emmy Award-winning and Abbott Elementary actress Sheryl Lee Ralph, and another edition, featuring SportsCenter anchor Kevin Negandhi, will run across ESPN networks.

Front Row caught up with ESPN’s Ira Fritz and Kimberley Salatino and Disney’s Chris Powers, Peyman Nikakhtar, and Jeff Weinstock to get their thoughts on the inspiration for this creative and how it all came to life.

The Choose Kindness Project tackles serious topics — why did you decide to use humor to get the message across?
Disney CreativeWorks: A challenge of PSAs is that they can be cheesy. So, we decided to play with that by choosing the cheesiest format possible – infomercials – as the conceit.

The intention wasn’t necessarily to be funny but to create an easy entry point for a very serious issue. It may evoke a smile when you watch it, but you’ll also sense there are deeper statements being made. (Powers)

What was it like to work with Ralph on this PSA?
Disney CreativeWorks: What can be said about her – she is magical. Sheryl brought her presence and gravitas to the spot. Watching her deliver the lines, it was immediately clear that the spot was being elevated before our eyes. We are so grateful for her generous participation. (Nikakhtar, Powers & Weinstock)

What was it like to work with Negandhi on this PSA?
ESPN CreativeWorks: Besides being the consummate professional and one of ESPN’s top talents, Kevin is also one of the most compassionate people you’ll ever meet. He immediately jumped at the opportunity to partner with us on this very important project and generously gave of his time as we worked to make sure we delivered at the same fantastic level Emmy winner, Sheryl Lee Ralph, did. (Fritz and Salatino)

You have been engaged with The Choose Kindness Project for a couple of years now. What does it mean to you personally to be involved with the program?
Disney & ESPN CreativeWorks: We work on many great advertiser partnerships at Disney CreativeWorks, but The Choose Kindness Project holds a special place in our hearts. This was a wonderful opportunity for our team to join forces and contribute to the betterment of the world in a small but hopefully effective way.

One of the first insights we gained during our team research was that we had all been affected by bullying in the past. This opened our eyes to the importance of sharing messages around inclusion, mental health, and anti-bullying to ensure that no kid or parent feels left alone or isolated. (Ira Fritz & Peyman Nikakhtar)

EDITOR’S NOTE: NBA star Kevin Love discusses The Choose Kindness Project on ESPN’s NBA Today

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