Top Spot of the Week: CALLEN, Director Torben Kjelstrup Settle "Nerves" For Coursera


Robert Goldrich
Thursday, Feb. 24, 2022


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Creative agency CALLEN turned out this campaign for global online learning platform Coursera to connect with people looking to educate themselves in the pursuit of a new career or advancement in their present one.

The Coursera campaign inspires and builds momentum around listening to your inner voice and celebrates the confidence gained from a great education. A certified B Corp, Coursera has set a mission to provide universal access to online courses and degrees from world-class universities and companies like Duke, Yale, and Google to help individuals learn job-relevant skills and better their careers.

The campaign opens with a couple of spots directed by Torben Kjelstrup via production company Furlined. This commercial, titled “Nerves,” takes us on a journey through an internal pep talk with Sarah, between the time her name is called for an interview and when she arrives at the office door. The snappy conversation, set to original compositions from CALLEN, moves to her younger pink-haired self giving a confident-boosting comment--and then Sarah tells her younger self to dump her deadbeat boyfriend. The voiceover reminds Sarah about all the hard work she’s done to get to this place--from studying on the 10-hour train ride to learning from Duke in the comfort of her home. 

Every version of herself brought her to this moment, and the voice in her head assures her she can do it. By the time she arrives at the office door, her nerves are gone. 

“For this campaign, we wanted to give that voice in your head a new script,” noted Julianna Simon, CALLEN’s head of strategy. “We chose to focus on the positive outcomes associated with learning, to change that story and emphasize Coursera’s limitless belief in your potential.”


Client Coursera Agency CALLEN Craig Allen, founder & chief creative officer; Brandon Mugar, Jeff Anderson, art directors; Andy Ferguson, Todd Lamb, copywriters; Laura Ferguson, executive producer;  David Hughes, managing director; Julianna Simon, head of strategy. Production Furlined Torben Kjelstrup, director; Diane McArter, president; Ben Davies, VP; David Thorne, sr. exec producer; Jay Wakefield, EP & director of production;  Richard Fenton, producer; Simon Chaudoir, DP; Agustin Moreaux, set designer. Editorial Exile Jacob Schulsinger, editor; Sasha Hirschfeld, exec producer; LauRenn Reed, sr. producer; Anchor Mak, assistant editor. VFX Jane   David Parker, West Sarokin, lead Flame artists; Renee Tymn, Jesper Nybroe, Jameson DeSantis, Flame artists; Andre Gaspar Valenti, Rui Romano, CG team; Ben Sposato, head of producer; Rich Rama, exec producer. Color MPC Daniel de Vue, colorist; Meghan Lang Bice, sr. exec producer; Gabriel Wakeman, color producer; Alex Zhao, color production coordinator; Zack Wilpo, color assist. Audio Post Heard City Dan Flosdorf, mixer/sound designer; Virginia Wright, Ronnie Stapleton, Seth Brogdon, Chenoa Tarin, Zoltan Monori, assistant engineers; Gloria Pitagorsky, managing director/partner; Sasha Awn, Jackie James, exec producers; Liana Rosenberg, sr. producer; Nick Duvarney, producer; Dylan Stetson, assistant producer. Music Walker Sara Matarazzo, Stephanie Pigott, exec producers; Danielle Soury, sr. producer.

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