This superbly easy Pink Cross PPE reveals the facility of affection and hope
In a world in the midst of a pandemic, all forms of communication are vital. One could be forgiven, however, if a constant flow of pressure-sensitive adhesives takes a back seat. Sending messages on important topics is largely uncomplicated, which is understandable under the given circumstances.
Today, however, the American Red Cross launched a PSA from BBDO that is likely to stand out for its reluctance. In 30 seconds, a story is revealed with a simple construct: a shot that slowly expands to show a family house destroyed by a disaster.
The center of the ad is a woman playing a version of Burt Bacharach's What the World Needs Now on a piano in the middle of her living room. It's a stunning picture, and the choice of song can be interpreted in a number of ways – as a reflection on the times we live in and the care that Red Cross volunteers give to those who need it most.
According to Selma Bouhl, Vice President of Marketing Strategy and Creative Services at the American Red Cross, strategic is not about facts and figures, but about strong emotions and telling the history of mankind.
"Often times, customers can get into our own heads," she said. “We want a wall-to-wall copy to tell everyone everything. But the nice thing about this video – with the pictures and the music – is that it can tell the story much better than any word. This allows viewers to interpret things themselves and empathize with the story. "
Since this is the most critical time for fundraising on its calendar, the Red Cross went to BBDO with one simple letter: to generate a wave of empathy. Though the subject is challenging – the story of loss – the agency came from a place of hope. Of the three scripts created for the campaign, the piano concept turned out to be the most relevant and the most powerful.
"We kept coming back to how reliable this concept is," said Roberto Danino, SVP and Creative Director at BBDO New York. "There is something like this that people can relate to, especially given the context of 2020 and how we all somehow manage to do it."
Bouhl said the Red Cross had a similar pull on the concept and found it to be the top performing ad the nonprofit has ever tested. "It confirmed everything we all felt about the place," she said. "It was nice to see consumers have the same reaction."
Although the imagery is profound, the PSA's real hero and main protagonist is the music from Primary Wave Music, which has an extensive catalog with artists such as Ray Charles, Melissa Etheridge, Whitney Houston, Prince and others.
According to Jeff Straughn, President Branding and Marketing at Primary Wave, the company went straight to Bacharach to ask for permission to use the song on-site. From there, he secured more permits, and his team worked with Danino to develop the bespoke agreement, which was made available free of charge. Nor is it a one-off commitment, but a foundation on which to build.
"As a company, we took a closer look at how we can do more with what we control [music]," said Straughn. “Earlier this year I felt the Red Cross made sense and it would be better if we could build a long term relationship to raise more money. And if we build equity with some amazing creatives at BBDO using our music, then I think we're doing something special. "
According to Danino, the ability to create with a variety of music options like Primary Wave's helps take creative concepts and ideas to new territory.