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Black & Abroad
"The Black Elevation Map"
Performance Art

CASE SUMMARY

Black & Abroad is among the world’s most prominent niche-audience travel brands. Known for its international trips to Latin America, Europe and Africa – and its provocative “Go Back To Africa” campaign – global shifts in the travel industry created an opportunity to focus on domestic travel.

With Black-owned businesses disproportionately affected by the pandemic, and the brand’s audience at the center of a retraumatizing conversation about systemic racism, they also saw an opportunity to provide uplifting ways for travellers to interact directly with America’s vast network of Black-owned
businesses and cultural organizations.

When marginalized communities navigate the world, they’re asked to do so using tools that prioritize someone else’s worldview. Change the tools, and you could change the experience.

The Black Elevation Map is an uplifting domestic travel utility for Black & Abroad that visualizes Black cultural data as elevation. The greater the density of data, the higher the elevation.
See the heights of the culture at BlackElevationMap.com.

It is a visualization of +330,000,000 points of data which, through exploration, reveals insights about relative population distribution and where Black-owned businesses and cultural institutions are most likely to be present, absent, and in what abundance.

Functionality includes the ability to geolocate, create “favourites” lists, “Add to map”, search, a freestyle explore mode, +30,000 discoverable points of interest, a Black-travel social feed, and integrates with other mapping platforms to facilitate routing and directions.

Users can explore the map through 12 curated city guides and 10 national guides, which contain dozens of original content models, such as Black-owned wineries (“Melanin Vines”) and restaurants that
fuelled civil rights (“Civil Bites”).

The data gathering process considered scale, quality, accessibility across all 50 states, ethical sourcing and race-based bias. They prioritized data from sources where users self-report their own ethnicity.

They supported the platform’s launch with a 60-second film, cut downs, and online media that feature points of interest from the map.

They ran two separate audience profiles, at two different phases of the launch: interest and signal-based lookalikes (a baseline audience built on interest and travel-intent behaviour that expanded in real time to people who “looked like” those who engaged most), and high-value audience (an audience designed by Kinesso, based on academic trend research into Black culture, race-based data bias work, and
leveraging the Acxiom data spine).

The Black Elevation Map is a crafted patchwork of interwoven data and technologies: natural elevation, a straight port of a global Digital Elevation Model (DEM) called NASADEM, as well as total and black population.

The data was derived from a custom choropleth monochromatic visualization that uses census tract polygonal data for geographical units. Densities were computed and visualized using quantile
(equal count) categorization.

CMS content and records from HMdb, combined with API data from Yelp! and Google, filtered for relevance to travel. Google Places ID was used for standardization across sources.

There was a 3D overlay Mapbox GL web library with a custom WebGL renderer, wrapped in a custom React web app. Search Results from Mapbox service were integrated to prioritize and
differentiate project-specific records.

There was a 116% brand lift, 647% greater campaign awareness than benchmark, and 45.4 MM impressions across paid and earned channels. Additionally, there was a 302% increase in traffic to BlackAndAbroad.com, 360% increase in unique visitors, and 971% increase in event sales and site merch. The campaign garnered 6x the average 2022 monthly YouTube campaign view rate. There was a +116% increase in ad recall (compared to control), and landed 33% beyond Facebook and Insta category benchmarks for campaign awareness. There were +330,000,000 total points of data, including +47,000,000 Black population data,
+28,000 Black-owned businesses listed, and +6,500 cultural markers.

Credits

Client: Black & Abroad
Chief Creative Officer & Co-Founder: Eric Martin
Chief Strategy Officer & Co-Founder: Kent Johnson

Agency: Performance Art
Chief Creative Officer: Ian Mackenzie
Associate Creative Director: Pedro Izzo, Benson Ngo
Copywriter: Hemal Dhanjee, Tobi Adebowale, Paula Purdon, Jasmine Mans
Experience Delivery Lead: Nzegwhua Anderson
Senior Experience Designer: Joe Szabo
Experience Designer: Leon Mullings
Studio Designer: Emily Plewes
Executive Creative Director: Colin Craig
Producer: Sharon Nelson-Bailey
VP, Strategy: Kirk Linkletter
Strategist: Leandra Legendre, Simran Kaur, Eli Ferrara, Cassandra Cervi
SVP, Head of Strategy: Priyanka Goswami
Program Manager: Kaylen Dillon
Digital Producer: Darwin Garcia
SVP, Managing Director: Jordan Dinning
Account Supervisor: Ricky Gunawan
Account Director: Jon Rae
VP, Technology: Stuart Cheesmond
Technical Solutions Consultant: Suraj Patel
Group Director, Product Development: Arnaud Icard
Lead Developer: John Iacoviello
Full Stack Developer: Cody Schreiber
Interface Developer: Heung Lee
Senior Technical Architect: Valerian Nasqidashvili
Quality Assurance Lead: Natalia Zadorozhna
Quality Assurance Analyst: Nataliya Vislyanska
Solutions Consultants (BAs): Suraj Patel, Kaivalya Kashyap
Analytics Manager: Anil Iqbal
Junior Analyst: Shaista Meghji
Analytics Analyst: Abdul Dau
Consultant: Gigi Basanta
Chief Executive Officer: Andrea Cook
Chief Operations Officer: Elizabeth Sellors
For registration inquiries, contact Alisha Tabilin at 1-416-408-2300 x282 or atabilin@brunico.com.