The Best Work You May Never See: Ad Council, TBD, Director Anrick Bregman Deliver An Anti-Bullying "Message from the Future"


Robert Goldrich
Monday, Feb. 3, 2020


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According to the Ad Council, two out of three teens claim they’ve experienced bullying, yet most don’t think they are part of the problem. While most anti-bullying campaigns focus on the negative impact which bullying can inflict, the Ad Council’s latest campaign “A Message from the Future” by agency TBD in San Francisco encourages teens to consider the long-lasting impact of their actions, in a culture where meanness is normalized, to create a more empathetic, inclusive community.

In the creative, using an innovative technology technique, teens were aged up to show that our words and actions can impact someone’s day, year or life.  Teens were surprised with a live message from their aged-up friend, thanking them for stepping in when they were experiencing bullying, driving home that our words and actions can have long-lasting effects on someone’s future. The creative features The Head and the Heart’s song “See You Through My Eyes,” provided by Warner Records.

“No one can get through to teens better than their own friends – which is why this campaign is so resonant and effective,” said Heidi Arthur, chief campaign development officer at the Ad Council. 

Rafael Rizuto, co-founder and CCO of TBD, said that the goal was to show youngsters that “their words and actions have a long-lasting impact. To achieve this, we turned the impossible into possible by using cutting edge tech to bring their friends from the future to deliver a special message. Live.”

Anrick Bregman of production house Unit9, who directed the “A Message from the Future” film which juxtaposes the pain of being bullied with the power of friendship, said, “We knew we wanted to age the kids by 10 years in a live, real-time setting to create an emotionally raw experience. To achieve this, we started by scanning data of the teen’s face. Then we digitally changed the shape of a blank face to match their facial features and movements, capturing not just how they look, but how they move, talk, and their small, unique, behavioral micro signals. By using a TrueDepth camera setup, we allowed them to control their older selves in real-time, to create an honest way for them to pay a heartfelt thank you to their friend.”

The Ad Council corporate partners supporting this campaign, part of the "Because of You" initiative, include Adobe, Hallmark, and Johnson & Johnson. Non-profit partners include Be Strong, Born This Way Foundation, The Bully Project, GLSEN, No Bully, PACER’s National Bullying Prevention Center, and The Trevor Project.


Client Ad Council Agency TBD, San Francisco Rafael Rizuto, chief creative officer; Sara Uhelski, copywriter; Leila Moussaoui, art director; Bruno Menon, designer; Rob Lee, executive producer; Jeff Burger, engagement planning director; Jordan Warren, CEO. Production Unit9 Anrick Bregman, director; Michelle Craig, creative partner; Luca De Laurentiis, exec producer; Mindy Lubert, head of production; Sarah Barson, production lead; Camilla Rose, producer; Boyd Hobbs, DP; Mel Anderson, 1st assistant director. VFX Ingenuity Studios David Lebensfeld, VFX supervisor; Kieley Culbertson, VFX producer; Taos Whittaker, VFX artist. Editorial/Post Beast Bob Spector, Blake Bogosian, editors; Jeff Bielat, producer; Evan Mueller, assistant editor; Eric Pascua, colorist/Flame artist. Sound Design Joe Wohlmuth, sound designer. Music Jamute  James Pinto, Daniel Teles, music producer; Alejandro Ramos Lepez, exec producer; Julianna Zuppo, Cassia Garcia, production coordinators. Song:  The Head and the Heart's "See You Through My Eyes"

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