TLC’s annual Give A Little Awards, held on September 20 in partnership with Redbook magazine and Love Is Louder at New York City’s Park Hyatt Hotel, this year raised awareness about bullying and its corrosive effect on the lives of so many young people. The honorees were a range of celebrities (TV personality Kelly Osbourne and dancer Derek Hough among them), activists (Kristen Caminiti, Dianne Grossman, Jaylen Arnold) and TLC star Jazz Jennings (I Am Jazz). Each of them was truly deserving of his or her award and in total the night was a masterclass in the importance of mission-driven messaging and brand alignment.
Recent studies show that 86% of consumers believe that it is important for companies to take a stand on social issues. TLC and its parent company Discovery have made a commitment to incorporating their values into their storytelling for decades. “For over 30 years, Discovery has been committed to telling stories about our planet and equally committed to supporting the people, communities and animals that call it their home," noted Alexa Verveer, Group Senior Vice President, Public Policy, Corporate and Government Affairs. "From Project C.A.T. (Conserving Acres for Tigers) to pro-social initiatives like TLC’s Give a Little and Say Yes to the Prom, we are proud to be a purpose-driven company and bring the reach of our brands and platforms to work for deserving causes.”
Purpose was at the core of the Give a Little Awards and it resonated throughout the evening. The host of the evening was Randy Fenoli, the star of TLC’s Say Yes to the Dress, who opened with poignant remarks on the importance of communities confronting bullying. Fenoli set the tone for star Jazz Jennings, one of the youngest people to identify as transgender. As one of the standout honorees she shared her personal story of rising above bullying to learn to love herself, and she called on other young people facing similar challenges to be inspired to find their authentic voices.
“Deep down inside we all have the capacity to love ourselves” Jennings stated. “Bullying can be confronted if we tap into the power we have within."
TLC President and General Manager Howard Lee spoke of how the common themes of support, family, inclusion and empowerment as manifested through hope were key to the TLC branding proposition, explaining how the TLC brand celebrates people who live their lives in a way that unapologetically embraces who they are. As the honorees shared their personal stories and perspectives it became increasingly clear that this event was a labor of love deeply intertwined in the DNA of the network and its parent company.
Impressively, TLC has managed to create a singular award event that aligns with its purpose-driven strategy, shines a light on deserving activist voices and fits into the larger cause-marketing zeitgeist. The opportunity to make this event bigger in future years and expanding its reach would be very welcome, as its message highlighting the power of kindness to combat hate and love as a transcendent force for good has never been more needed. One evening spent in the company of such powerful advocates for the better angels of our nature can soften even the hardest cynic.
Photo credit: Dia Dipasupil/Getty Images for TLC
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