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A closer look at ‘The Black elevation map’ from Performance Art


By Awards Analyst, writer

December 7, 2022 | 4 min read

Performance Art won the Grand Prix, Digital for Good, Best Digital Brand Experience and Most Effective Use of Data prizes at The Drum Awards for Digital Industries 2022 for its Black elevation map campaign. Here, we look at how this project was brought to life.


Credit: Black & Abroad

The Black elevation map is a digital tool that maps and visualizes data that is significant to African American culture and history. The searchable map reveals location-specific information such as Black population, number of Black-owned businesses, and historical landmarks.

The brief

Black & Abroad, a travel and lifestyle company committed to curating resources and events to empower Black travelers, set out to create an immersive and engaging digital map that could display — in as much detail and variety as possible — African American cultural data points and landmarks across the United States.

The brand was well aware that maps throughout history have tended to reflect the biases of their mapmakers and the dominant political and cultural regimes of the time; with that in mind, the new digital database would also need to mitigate bias to the greatest possible degree.

The idea

The brand teamed up with advertising agency Performance Art to construct the Black elevation map, which resembles a topographic map (a map that displays elevation). The more data available for a particular locale, the higher the elevation the peak that will be found on top of it.

The map leverages more than 330m data points and maps more than 28,000 Black-owned businesses; data was gathered by searching “African-American” from the Historical marker database. The digital map was accompanied by a hero film called “A hymn away from home,” as well as 27 “mini-documentaries” for individual businesses.

The results

The Black elevation map resulted in a brand lift rate of 116%, according to a Facebook study, and a traffic increase to the Black & Abroad website of over 300%. It was hailed by one user as “a modern Green Book.”

This campaign won at The Drum Awards for the Digital Industries 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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