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UnRestrict Minnesota

UnRestrict Minnesota is a cross-sector, multi-racial, multi-faith, intersectional coalition and campaign working to achieve full reproductive justice in the state of Minnesota.

Prior to the official launch of the campaign, 5IVE handed out unbranded 11×17 “Remove Minnesota’s Restrictions” posters at a reproductive freedom rally held at the state Capitol to drive attention to the state’s abortion restrictions.

The Challenge

In 2019, the reversal of Roe v. Wade was beginning to look imminent, and the movement for reproductive freedom was urgently trying to shore up abortion rights across the country. Minnesota seemed a likely candidate to serve as a safe-haven for those seeking abortion care in the Midwest, but 96% residents were unaware of the level of restrictions in their state, and were unlikely to be mobilized around expanding access when they overwhelmingly assumed the issue was elsewhere.

The lack of awareness, false public perceptions and fragmented mobilization around this topic made the need for more intentional leadership and activation clear. A new type of more diverse, cross-sector coalition that could fuel a robust repeal of the existing laws, unite a broader set of partners and expand the legislative agenda required. The conditions were ripe for a new set of players and voices who could mobilize, educate and amplify the topic of abortion, and Minnesota’s emerging role as beacon of hope at a time when other states were implementing more stringent bans and legal barriers.

The Solution

5IVE was brought in as a key thought and branding partner to design and build a fully integrated awareness campaign that coincided with litigation being filed by The Lawyering Project. Establishing a strong campaign presence, name and ability to draw attention was key for shifting the prominent narrative and delivering an educated, engaged and fully activated populace. As a result, UnRestrict Minnesota was born and designed to disrupt the status quo and set the stage for more informed public dialogues.

5IVE, in partnership with our clients Women’s Equality Center (WEC), a global philanthropic organization, Minnesota advocacy organization Gender Justice and set of coalition partners and local activists developed a new distributed model for bringing people together around shared values and goals, moving people to recognize the need for action, and building political capital around reproductive freedom within the state, while also influencing the national movement and creating a new model for successful coalition building and campaigns.

The logo design utilizes a highlighter effect, which reflects the overall goal of the awareness campaign – to highlight Minnesota’s unconstitutional abortion restrictions. The vibrant color palette was intentionally chosen because it not only captures attention but also sets our campaign apart from typical pro-choice branding.

The Strategy

5IVE and our clients employed a multi-pronged strategy to launch a new campaign and brand positioned as a fact-based resource driving Minnesotans to educate themselves about the current abortion restrictions in the state; to build an inclusive coalition which represented an even distribution of power, participation and representation among the organizations within it; to facilitate “bottom-up” messaging; and to advance a legislative agenda truly representative of the full range of perspectives in the state.

Strategy Impact & Support

Based on our assessment of the reproductive rights legal and coalition landscape in the state, our strategy shifted beyond the client’s original request to create a campaign to build the foundation for a self-sustaining ecosystem with the power to influence and transform abortion policy in a lasting way. In partnership with our client, we developed five key components:

  1. Movement Building. WEC provided grants to organizations to increase the number and diversity of groups participating in agenda-setting conversations, orgs’ engagement with core audiences and capacity to sustain both. WEC also commissioned a groundbreaking study that laid the foundation for the launch of a fully integrated advocacy & media campaign.
  2. Brand Strategy & Awareness Campaign. 5IVE launched a multi-channel advertising blitz to launch a new campaign brand as an objective fact-based resource driving Minnesotans to educate themselves about the abortion restrictions in the state.
  3. Inclusive Coalition Structure & Governance. Gender Justice convened a cross-sector of partners convened around a new coalition table that contributed to the direction and development of the campaign, and increasingly represented a new center of power at the capitol.
  4. Field & Relational Organizing. Gender Justice and WEC spearheaded a digital and real-world organizing arm to facilitate bottom-up messaging and cultivate old and new supporters ready to take action and to prepare for legislative advocacy at the capitol.
  5. UnRestrict Minnesota Leadership. 5IVE’s founder and lead strategist, Boriana Strzok, was invited to participate in the first Leadership Team of the coalition and supported the development of strategic goals and growth strategies that set the core pillars for broader legislative impact and ultimately securing UnRestrict Minnesota’s role as a permanent player in the movement for reproductive freedom and justice in the state.

“Before 5IVE, I had never worked with an agency that takes such a holistic approach in their process – from their engagement with you as the client to the development of strategy. They do the work to understand the core of the problem – the people behind it, their needs, the external context, the history of challenges, internal operations and how all those moving parts interact. That dedication of understanding before developing solutions is key to why they’re able to pave the way for real change.”

Didi Scott, former Director of Women’s Equality Center, US Program

The Research

Listening sessions were held with the various stakeholders in the state, and a groundbreaking study was commissioned which laid the foundation for the design of the campaign and reboot of the coalition. The research found that the vast majority of Minnesotans were unaware of the abortion restrictions in the state.

The messaging necessary to educate and motivate Minnesotans about the abortion restrictions in their state was straightforward, but Minnesotans themselves needed to feel that they were in control of that education and their activism needed to be inspired by their authentic values.

A lack of cohesion in communications and legislative planning (largely due to limited capacity and resources) within the Minnesota reproductive freedom coalition undermined efforts to change abortion policy. A compelling narrative around abortion in Minnesota existed in small circles, but it was not reaching the broader public.

In effect, people can’t be mobilized around expanding access to abortion if they aren’t even aware that access is restricted.

96%

of Minnesotans could not describe one abortion restriction.

86%

assumed the state’s laws supported people’s rights and access to abortion care rather than restricted it.

63%

wanted state laws to support rights and access to abortion care.

“5IVE’s strategic vision and thought partnership were essential to the enormous success of our UnRestrict Minnesota campaign. Their unique approach to developing engaging messaging and creative executions captured Minnesotans’ attention and helped us raise awareness about the state’s restrictions on abortion — and ultimately, in 2023, led to repeal them once and for all, establishing our state as a national leader in reproductive freedom!”

Megan Peterson, Executive Director of Gender Justice, home of the UnRestrict MN coalition and campaign

7 Month Post-Launch Results

  • 13 millionimpressions
  • 323,216 website sessions
  • 3:05average time spent on site by direct users
  • 753,071completed video views
  • 2,829reactions on social
  • 9,557filter shares on Snapchat

Transforming Minnesota into a refuge and beacon of hope

In 2023, Minnesota was firmly established as the Midwest’s access center for abortion and a safe-haven for people seeking care within the region. Today, the UnRestrict Minnesota coalition is a sustainable, inclusive entity and recognized brand representing the full range of perspectives in the state and effectively influencing a robust reproductive justice agenda across all branches of governance.

Repeal of Set of Abortion Restrictions

In July 2022, just weeks before Roe was overturned, a Minnesota District Court permanently blocked a set of abortion restrictions, and ruled that the state constitution protects a fundamental right to access abortion care.

Laws Enacted to Bolster Protections

In the 2023 state legislative session, lawmakers enshrined in Minnesota law everyone’s right to make and act on their own decisions about the full range of reproductive health options, instituted strong protections for people from out-of-state seeking abortion care, and repealed the vast majority of the state’s abortion restrictions.

Center of Power for RJ Led Vision

UnRestrict Minnesota is a formidable cross-sector, multi-racial, multi-faith, intersectional coalition working to achieve full reproductive justice in the state. It is the driving force behind the sweeping reforms to abortion restrictions in the state.

The Community Hub

The Community Hub was created as a digital space for storytelling and sharing, featuring artwork by local artists, stories from coalition partners and activists, and ongoing updates related to legislative victories, new challenges and those on the ground working to mobilize and activate Minnesotans. The design of this hub reflects the diversity of the perspectives and documents the progress made by the campaign organizers and participants, creating an online platform for community and movement building.

Next Project:
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