On Your Side Combats Hate Towards East and Southeast Asian UK Communities
The support and reporting service has joined forces with The Gate to challenge hate crimes against East and Southeast Asian communities in the UK through a Lunar New Year campaign
12 February 2024
On Your Side, the nationwide support and reporting service dedicated to the East and Southeast Asians who have experienced racism or hate, launched a compelling campaign in collaboration with The Gate London. The initiative, titled ‘A Better Fortune,’ aims to commemorate the Lunar New Year and highlight the alarming acts of hate against the East and Southeast Asian communities in the UK.
East and Southeast Asian (ESEA) communities have shaped UK culture, including Asian food being the UK’s number one takeaway of choice. However, despite this place in the UK’s heart, ESEA communities continue to experience high levels of hate crime across the country. On Your Side was created in the wake of a steep increase in hate crime recorded against ESEA communities during the covid pandemic, which continues today. In response, The Gate and On Your Side seek to leverage the UK's love for ESEA food to encourage support for the community and drive allyship.
Lunar New Year, celebrated from 10 February, is a significant occasion marked by hope for a better year ahead. Addressing acts of hate against the ESEA community during this time holds particular significance. Using the medium of fortune cookies, synonymous with ESEA culture and food – the campaign will subvert their messages to fortell of positive actions against hate. Messages that will reframe the recipient as future allies, and act as a poignant reminder that those who love the food should also show the same support and love for the people.
We chose the fortune cookie as it’s a symbol of ESEA presence in the Western world. Though it is not universally associated with all ESEA communities, its existence is evidence of a long and complicated history of migration, discrimination, and racism. It serves as a complex diasporic symbol that shines light on why we need to support the ESEA community in the UK. It is a reminder that services, such as On Your Side, the nation’s first support and reporting service for ESEA communities in the UK, play a vital role in ensuring the safety and well-being of the community.
Acknowledging the fortune cookies’ historical ties to racialised history, through highlighting its roots, we attempt to show the complex relationship between the fortune cookie and its connections to racialised narratives. Utilising the fortune cookie to encourage people to stand against racism and hate transforms it from a once controversial symbol into one of strength and empowerment. We hope that our “A Better Fortune” campaign will spark further discussion on racism in the UK, and encourage those who need support to reach out.
The campaign unfolds across various mediums, including out-of-home, social, and digital platforms. On Tuesday, 13th February, The Gate and OYS will be distributing Fortune Cookies throughout China Town, intending to capture people's attention and initiate discussions about the cause. On social media, influencers, both allies and members of the ESEA community, will unbox Fortune Cookies, sharing personal experiences and thoughts to promote a better understanding and allyship. The Gate produced the campaign in collaboration with Brave Spark. The organisation Asian Leadership Collective supported the development of the campaign.
Hannah Bituin and Becky Reynolds, Creatives of The Gate, said: “With one of us being from a South-East Asian background, who has grown up with hate and has found it to become the norm, we wanted to do something about it. With a fortune cookie being synonymous with the community, we will help people, including allies, stand up for what's right.
Rob Bovington, Creative Director of The Gate, added: "To challenge perceptions and rally allies, we chose to grab people’s attention at the opportune moment. A fortune cookie is not only culturally relevant, it’s the perfect medium to engage a captive audience - encouraging lovers of Asian food, during a meal to show love and support for the ESEA community in the face of hate."
Victina Tse, Project Manager of On Your Side, concluded: “Lunar New Year is a significant time for celebration, reflection and coming together. It's fitting that during this period, we draw attention to the acts of hate against the ESEA community. 'A Better Fortune Cookie' seeks to harness the UK’s love for ESEA food to encourage understanding, support, and unity while also making sure ESEA communities know we are there to support them if ever they do experience hate”
The Gate has won a number of new clients since the start of 2022 including SMARTY Mobile, Guide Dogs, The AA and, most recently, The Very Group. In the same time-frame it has also won a number of high profile industry awards at the EFFIE’s, APG and Marketing Society awards shows.
Client: On Your Side
Advertising agency: The Gate
Chief Creative Officer: Lucas Peon
Creative Director: Rob Bovington
Creative team: Becky Reynolds and Hannah Bituin
Senior designer: Joe Glover
Managing Director: Charlotte Wolfenden
Account executive: Maddie Tarrant
Senior planner: Bruno Carramaschi
Production company: Brave Spark Creative Studios
Director: Robin Shek
Editor: Michael Hegarty