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Why GSD&M rallied behind women’s right to choose with ‘Forced Mother’s Day’


By Awards Analyst, writer

December 5, 2022 | 4 min read

GSD&M won at The Drum Awards for Agency Business 2022 in the Best Response to Change category for its ‘Forced Mother’s Day’ campaign. Here, we find out what went into their attention-grabbing campaign.

GDS&M's 'Forced Mother's Day' campaign

GDS&M's 'Forced Mother's Day' campaign / Credit: GDS&M

GDS&M is a company that responds to political change with action. Based in Austin, Texas, the full-service agency has often found itself at the geographical center of political fault lines, with debates around immigration, transgender rights and abortion coming to a head in the Lone Star State.

In ‘Forced Mother’s Day’, after the leaked Supreme Court decision indicated that the Roe v Wade ruling on abortion rights might soon be overturned, the agency acted swiftly (and off its own back) to make a powerful statement in support of women’s right to choose.

The brief

Legislative change in Texas has long been under a microscope, with a raft of conservative decisions in the state drawing close attention and powerful backlash in recent years.

In May of this year, a leaked Supreme Court opinion showed that Roe v Wade – the landmark ruling that protects women’s right to choose – was in danger of being overturned. GDS&M decided to put its creative talents to work, in defense of that right to choose.

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The idea

The agency rallied quickly to create and distribute its own creative in response to the situation, becoming the first creative move from the ad industry defending the right to abortion.

The brief leaked a few days short of Mother’s Day. At the heart of GDS&M’s response is a greeting card, featuring a traditional design and very non-traditional messaging. “Happy Forced Mother’s Day,” reads the front; inside: “to the mother who has everything except the right to choose”. And on the back a powerful call to action: “This could be the reality very soon. FIGHT BACK.” Followed by contact information for elected representatives and ways to share the card on social.

‘Forced Mother’s Day’ is just the latest in a long line of powerful political moves from the agency. Just a few months earlier, the agency responded to efforts by lawmakers in Texas to criminalize and investigate parents who provide age-appropriate, medically-necessary, gender-affirming care for their children. In collaboration with the Human Rights campaign, the agency published a full-page ad in the Dallas Morning News in the form of an open letter condemning these policies.

The results

The campaign gained national and local attention, and shares across social media totalling almost 60,000 impressions in just two days. Equally importantly, it gave the team an outlet for expression, with a turnaround from brief to idea to execution in a matter of days.

This campaign was a winner at The Drum Awards for Agency Business 2022. You can see all the winners here.

The Drum Awards for Marketing are currently open for entry. Find out how you can enter now.

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