Sandy Hook Promise’s Back to School Essentials PSA has won the Primetime Emmy for Outstanding Commercial. The public service advertisement, launched across the USA in September 2019, starts off as a familiar back-to-school sales promotion but slowly unfolds to highlight students using everyday back-to-school items to survive an outbreak of gun violence. Sneakers, skateboards, scissors, staplers and phones are presented as the essentials for surviving a school shooting. The Back to School ad shines a light on anxiety young people and their parents experience as they face the risk of ongoing classroom and campus shootings. Shocking? Yes. Deliberately so.
IKEA Spain has released “Yo Me Quedo En Casa” (I Stay Home), a commercial designed as an ode to the home as refuge during the COVID-19 pandemic. The advertising campaign encourages viewers to celebrate their home, a place where in a simple and improvised way they can enjoy leisure and work in a new way, approaching their time of isolation with imagination, love, patience and a sense of humour. The #YoMeQuedoEnCasa campaign includes by a series of digital elements with which the brand invites all of us to see our house from a different perspective and to make it a place where during this time, we can enjoy new experiences and sensations together.
NO MORE and National Domestic Violence Hotline are running an advertising campaign aimed at people who have recently started working from home in response to the COVID-19 pandemic. The Listening from home campaign, designed to be co-branded with other organisations, raises awareness of the increased danger being experienced by victims who are caught at home with their abusers. Like Covid-19, signs of abuse are not always visible. The campaign informs people about the warning signs, encourages them to get help if they hear or observe incidents of domestic violence and asks for donations to support the helpline’s response efforts. Poster ads, run on social media and outdoors, present women alone indoors, with the grim reminder that they’ve been been isolated and living in fear, for months, or even for years.
Many congregations in my patch, the Port Phillip East Presbytery in Melbourne, are having a go at running online versions of their worship services for the benefit of members staying at home during the Australian response to the COVID-19 pandemic. It’s a time of creativity, with lots of learning through experimentation. I’ve put together a few tips for online worship, relating to YouTube, Facebook, Vimeo, Churchonline and Zoom media channels. “It’s Church, but not as we know it”, is a reference to a meme that emerged from Startrek’s Mr Spock in conversation with Captain Kirk of the USS Enterprise. Moving to a new medium, with up to five people in the room with a camera, means that we have freedom to rethink how we gather dispersed people in a worship experience.
Honda is running “Feel More from the Ground”, a commercial celebrating the Civic’s low driving position. A young woman heads off in her red Honda Civic, cameras capturing every angle from below. We see a chasing dog, a crack in the road, the shoes of a runner, the adventurous steps taken by a pigeon, the close encounter with death experienced by an ant, a puddle turned into a splash pool, all within the frame of a dog’s observation. The super: “The closer to the road, the more you feel”.
Fanta, the Coca-Cola orange brand, is celebrating fun through “Idiots are Amazing”, an integrated advertising campaign launched in Europe. YouTube video stars, known for their idiotic and weird stunts, have been discovered and made larger than life through a suite of films showing their dedicated preparation. The champions of play are filmed training for a gymnastic giraffe stunt, diving into snow in a swimsuit, dancing in a large pair of stretched pants, wheelbarrow tricks, and drinking coffee while reading a book, sliding on the ice on the way to work in Norway. The four stunts and their build-up routines, edited into 15 second videos, are spliced together with a 90 second soundtrack worthy of a Nike inspirational anthem. Out of home and print advertisements supplement the heroic idiots with further examples of playful idiocy.