Brand films continue to grow in popularity and reach, spanning a multitude of industries from the automotive world to sports to healthcare.
WINNER: Holiday Ride
General Motors/Chevrolet and Commonwealth Detroit/McCann
The theme of General Motors/Chevrolet’s film Holiday Ride is an appropriate one for the season: love. The four-minute picture tells the story of a daughter who, after the death of her mother, decides to have her parents’ car restored as a Christmas gift for her grieving father. The story touches upon a husband’s love for his wife, a daughter’s for her parents and a community’s for this family (as they happily undertake the restoration of the classic Chevrolet).
The automotive giant turned to a formidable team of talent to bring this story to life, including three Academy Award winners: Tom Hooper (director, The King’s Speech), Claudio Miranda (cinematographer, The Life of Pi) and Rachel Portman (composer, Emma). Holiday Ride ran alongside Chevrolet’s other holiday advertising and the story of love, loss and renewal served to create another emotional connection between Chevrolet and the brand’s loyal followers.
Chevrolet and Weber Shandwick
WINNER: The Wolf
HP and Anonymous Content with The Lab
After the success of the series Mr. Robot, with its cybersecurity-driven plot, Christian Slater plays the part of The Wolf in this film for HP Wolf Security directed by Mark Romanek. The almost five-minute movie focuses on the new window of opportunity the COVID-19 pandemic created for cyberattacks. With its protagonist Alice Porter (in the HR department of an unnamed corporation) working from home, she is vulnerable to attacks that most likely would have been prevented on a corporate network. When her son accepts a suspicious email while using his mom’s laptop, a cascade of events unfolds. At first, the Porter home network is infiltrated, but then the entire IT infrastructure of her employer follows too. The film tracks the chronology of this security breach with the suspense of a true-crime drama, while Slater is chilling and charming as he describes his nefarious activity as the Wolf.
Corteva Agriscience and Ogilvy
WINNER: Quest for Craft
The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky and William Grant & Son’s with Quaker City Mercantile
As a musician, producer, filmmaker, journalist, songwriter and more, Questlove has charted his own creative journey, praised by critics and recognized with honors including an Academy Award in 2022 for the documentary Summer of Soul and six Grammys. This made him a natural choice to host The Balvenie Single Malt Scotch Whisky’s four-part series on creativity. When Questlove sits down with comedian Michael Che, music producer Jimmy Jam, musician Patti Smith and writer Malcolm Gladwell, the conversations go in surprising, but always fascinating, directions. He encourages these cultural figures to share their inspirations and goals, and the importance of chaos, community, authenticity and other factors that contribute to creativity. The campaign succeeded with some of Balvenie’s main objectives, foremost among them brand awareness. Each episode also explains Balvenie’s devotion to craftsmanship, positioning the brand as the leading luxury single malt whisky of discerning customers.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire and IW Group
WINNER: Epclusa C.U.R.E.
Epclusa and FCB Health New York
Please see Important Facts about EPCLUSA (sofosbuvir / velpatasvir) including Important Warning on hepatitis B within the video.
The Epclusa C.U.R.E. film uses engaging animation and direct language to share its message. This four-and-a-half minute movie explains hepatitis C, or “hep C,” in an easy-to-follow manner and provides viewers a plan of action, using a memorable pneumonic. The C in C.U.R.E. stands for “covering the basics,” the U is for “understand the symptoms” and the R is for the “real talk” that Epclusa encourages patients to have with their doctors. (The E is for Epclusa itself.) Subtle shifts in the color palette and smooth scene transitions help create the feeling that the viewer is being led on a journey, one that is educational and visually entertaining as well. The film is merely the centerpiece of a much broader campaign, and its characters are being used in social media drivers, web banners and brochures.
WINNER: The Park Bench
Aflac and Passion Point Collective with Allison+Partners, Lion Forge Animation and The XP Agency
One of the stars of Aflac’s first animated feature is, not surprisingly, a duck; however, the lead of The Park Bench is Bella, a girl scared and confused when her father is hospitalized. As he heals, she nurses the duck, who also becomes her friend, to recover from its broken wing. On the same day her father returns from the hospital, the duck is ready to depart and fly south for the winter.
Just like Bella’s family, the creators, animators, producers and agencies behind The Park Bench are African American — extending Aflac’s legacy of diversity. The film was directed by Academy Award- and Golden Globe-nominated writer Rob Edwards and was produced by Academy Award-winning animation company Lion Forge (Hair Love), the only Black-owned animation studio in the U.S. The earned PR campaign resulted in 28 unique media stories, including features in US Weekly, Forbes and Essence.
Neutrogena and Passion Point Collective with FleishmanHillard, Florence, J3
WINNER: Apple TV+ Everyone but Jon Hamm
Apple and TBWA\Media Arts Lab
Jon Hamm first became a household name as the confident ad man Don Draper, but in the new Apple TV+ film, we see a different side of the actor. Hamm is having a serious case of FOMO as Tom Hanks, Tom Holland, Octavia Spencer, Paul Rudd and even Snoopy have collaborated on creating original content for Apple TV+, and yet he continues to be passed over. The streaming platform wanted to highlight the star power of its original content, as it has neither an extensive catalog to draw on nor licenses to use third-party content. The minute-long movie provides viewers a chance to browse the Apple TV+ offerings, alongside Hamm. As he becomes increasingly exasperated, viewers are subtly reminded that they can browse the platform to find film and programs by everyone who is anyone in Hollywood — except Hamm.
Pepsi Beverages North America and PepsiCo with The Content Studio at PepsiCo Beverages North America
WINNER: The Unspoken Curriculum
The Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation and Edelman
Journalists, legislators and education advocates have spent much of the last year debating how school curriculums should address racism in America, past and present, but students are rarely included in the discussion — especially Black students. In The Unspoken Curriculum, directed by Abraham Felix for the Boris Lawrence Henson Foundation, Black students from New Orleans recite a spoken-word poem answering the question, “What did they learn at school that day?” Going beyond the material covered in lectures, the poem describes the ongoing realities of racism and how similar behaviors and achievements are viewed differently depending on the color of a student’s skin. It’s a powerful message that concludes with a CTA encouraging viewers to join the effort to address the unspoken curriculum and improve the school experience of Black students.
Ad Council and Deutsch LA
WINNER: Learning to Drown
The North Face and Felt Soul Media
Learning To Drown, a 40-minute documentary, takes the North Face tagline — Never Stop Exploring — in a surprising direction. In the film, director Ben Knight follows professional snowboarder Jess Kimura as she recovers from the death of her partner, Mark Dickson. Kimura’s fearless determination and go-for-broke attitude are famous, but in this movie she also bares her soul as she reflects on some of her darkest days. Her grief leads to reckless choices, but she eventually finds an exit by facing her fear of drowning, a feat accomplished in part through her close friendship with Mark’s mother. Learning To Drown is a powerful tale of processing loss. As Kimura notes at the end of the film, even when clouds are overhead, she has now come to understand that she will see blue skies again one day.
WINNER: Forward Rhythm
Google and Google Brand Studio
From childhood, Jason Barnes was passionate about music and, in specific, the drums. Then, in 2012, it appeared his dreams were forever derailed after an electrical accident led to the loss of his lower right arm. Barnes tirelessly looked for prosthetic devices with the sensitivity to allow him to drum at the same level as before the accident, even going as far as attempting to construct his own. None worked.
When he thought all may be lost, a team at Georgia State and engineers from Google began creating a prosthetic arm using Google’s TensorFlow and AI so that Barnes could play again. Forward Rhythm captures the determination not only of Barnes, but also the Google and Georgia State teams. The final product will advance prosthetic technology in ways that will improve the lives of millions, not just Barnes.
Google and Google Brand Studio
WINNER: Halloween Horror Nights “Trapped”
Universal Orlando Resort and Popcorn Creative Group at Universal Orlando Resort
When a campaign’s target audience is fans of horror movies and haunted houses, it has to work hard to scare them. Halloween Horror Nights “Trapped” pulls that off with two-and-a-half minutes of chilling scenes inspired by classic horror movies, all unfolding in a dark prison presided over by the evil Jack the Clown. How Jack’s victims ended up in their cells is revealed during the course of the video — they made the fatal mistake of going to Universal Orlando Resort’s Halloween Horror Nights alone. The video achieved its goal of getting fans excited about the 2021 event — the 30th anniversary of Halloween Horror Nights — and it also provided a preview of various Universal intellectual properties that would be represented in the event’s haunted houses, such as the Texas Chainsaw Massacre and The Haunting of Hill House.
Jack Daniel’s Tennessee Fire and IW Group