The Best Work You May Never See: Energy BBDO, Chromista, Director Morgan Cooper Address Adoption Stigma Targeting Birth Mothers


Robert Goldrich
Monday, Nov. 25, 2019


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November is National Adoption Month and in honor of this Energy BBDO has conceived of a campaign to address an unfairly associated stigma.

Society celebrates adoptive families and sacrifices made to adopt a child. But we never think of the birth mother and her sacrifices, simply viewing her as troubled, desperate, or regretful. The associated shame means there’s no safe space for women to discuss placing a child for adoption. In our society we say a parent is “giving up” their child, which frames the choice as a failure on the birth mother for not parenting her own child.

Enter The Cradle, a not-for-profit, non-religiously affiliated adoption agency in Chicagoland. They’re working to remove stigmas by inviting people to change the way they talk--and think--about adoption. They’re giving up “giving up.” Instead of hiding or shaming birth mothers who place their children up for adoption, they are celebrating them. A new documentary-style film, Give Up Giving Up, created with pro-bono creative agency partner Energy BBDO, depicts this important, and timely message.

This full-length film has also been edited to create shorter form spots that will run on Instagram stories and in Facebook carousels, driving traffic to Cradle’s website.

The film was produced in collaboration with Chromista, Darren Aronofsky’s commercial production company. It was directed by Morgan Cooper (Bel-Air) and shot with DP Shelly Johnson (Captain America, Percy Jackson). The team behind the work consulted with birth mothers throughout the writing and production process in order to create the most authentic depiction of a birth mother’s reality. To maintain a level of intimacy, honesty and realism, the film was shot on 16mm film, using only natural light in a single take.



Client The Cradle Agency Energy BBDO, Chicago Josh Gross, Pedro perez, chief creative officers; Michele Brandel, Erika Hillman, creative directors; Brynna Alyward, Dane Canada, associate creative directors; Mishal Jagjivan, copywriter; John Pratt, head of integrated production; Nina Xoomsai, producer; Alan Parker, chief innovation officer; Robert Diel, technology lead; Cori Stankowicz, user experience architect; Larry Geis, chief strategy officer; Leah Gritton, integration strategy director. Production Chromista Morgan Cooper, director; Sandy Haddad, exec producer; Johnny Starke, producer. Editorial and Audio FLARE Chicago Jenny McDonald, sr. post producer; Sam Vaupel, post producer; Casey Cobler, managing editor; Steven Aguilar, sr. audio engineer; Mark Anderson, Flame artist. Color Company 3 Tyler Roth, editor. Digital Agency Centro

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