The reason I decided to pick my all time best PSAs is because I believe that this is advertising at its purest…not if its scam of course. The fact that a story can be told with either a print ad or in 30 or 60 seconds – and totally open a communities mind and create actual desperately needed change in those communities – is exactly at its core what our job is. Over my 20 year career in advertising, these have had a profound impact on me. They have made me sit up and go “Damn, why do I throw a ball like that?” to say the least, and I have seen them make people around me question themselves and made us all want to be better…
Always – ‘Like a Girl’
Agency: Leo Burnett Chicago
Production: Chelsea Pictures
Director: Lauren Greenfield
I was first shown this as a reference to a job we were working on, and it hit me like a sledgehammer how I didn’t flinch at all. I started watching it laughing, and ended up with tears in my eyes.
Topsy Foundation – ‘Selinah’
Agency: Ogilvy South Africa
Production: Egg Films
Director: Kim Geldenhuys
This is such a brilliant twist. In South Africa, we have been fighting the HIV pandemic for goodness knows how long. This PSA made waves and changed the perception of a very large population that having HIV AIDS was a death sentence. It made people with the disease and their families and friends realise there was help, and it was a game-changer locally. We have a much lower mortality rate now than we did when this came out.
Salvation Army – ‘Black and Blue’
Agency: Ireland Davenport South Africa
This just blew my mind. Such a brilliant simple idea that took a social media phenomenon and turned it on its head and made us all think.
Zoetis – ‘Gift’
Director: Zsófia Zsemberi
I am a massive animal lover, anyone that is asked to describe me will say ‘she really loves dogs’. I had just had a child when I saw this and everyone told me that I wouldn’t love my dog so much anymore. Well, they were wrong. My dog is still going strong at the age of 19 and my daughter is 13 and I adore them both just as much as I always have.
NSPCC – ‘Real Children Don’t Bounce Back’
Agency: Saatchi & Saatchi
Director: Frank Budgen
Post: The Mill
Animation: Passion Pictures
Editorial: The Quarry
I actually only saw this recently, the mixture of the sound design and animation in the real live action environment is so impactful, it left me breathless. I really appreciate that they didn’t show the child full of bruises, which would make it unbearable to watch. That quick cut at the end is so effective. This lures the audience in and tricks them and turns it on his head – it’s really brilliant.