The war for equality advances in fits and starts. And for those who aren't in the line of fire, it's easy to assume the work is done with a few high-profile protests and major court rulings. But that isn't really true. Many of the battles that have yet to be won are insidious and hard to see.
That's the subject of "The Obstacle Course." Created by TBWA Paris for Inter-LGBT, the ad starts out like a common nightmare: You're a kid back at school, and everyone is staring at you in the long, leisurely silence before inevitable attack.
You get up and run, and time flies by—but the onslaught never stops.
Among other enemies, you'll find yourself on the ground surrounded by boys at camp, the subject of cruel inside jokes during a game of Spin the Bottle, the reason for your mother's tears, and the recipient of many knowing—or downright reproachful—stares.
Along the way, you will be kicked, muddied and generally forced to survive on your own.
"Until society progresses, we will keep moving forward," the ad concludes, even as, exhausted, our protagonist continues to run.
The ad is distressing in part because it never loses its sense of dreamy surreality. Anyone who's ever been excluded or marginalized will find something to identify with—and once inside, the tight contours of a life spent navigating social spaces not intended for the "different" become both tangible and oppressive.
"The Obstacle Course" was directed by Ben Briand of Moonwalk Films, and comes just in time to draw awareness, and hopefully support, for France's Pride Marches, which take place in June.
Advertiser managers: Aurore Foursy and Jérôme Beaugé, chairpeople, Amandine Miguel and Clémence Zamora-Cruz, spokespeople
Project initiative: Sylvie Fondacci and Nicolas Rividi
Agency managers: Anne Vincent, Laure Lagarde, Isabelle Dray, Christophe Moiroud
Executive Creative directors: Benjamin Marchal and Faustin Claverie
Creative director: Marianne Fonferrier
Artistic director: Sébastien Skrzypczak
Copywriter : Stéphane Kaczorowski
CEO \Else : Maxime Boiron
TV Producer: Évelyne Lebervet
Production: Moonwalk Films
Director: Ben Briand
Producer: Alexis Bensa
Production coordinator: Angelina Coisne
Executive producer: Stéphane Floch
Location manager: Julien Lebourg
Editing: Night Shift – Philippe Joubert
Head of Sound and music : Olivier Lefebvre
Music artistic director: Philippe Mineur
Sound producer and director: Fabrice Pouvreau
Sound designers: Fabrice Pouvreau, Anaïs Khout
Original music by: Jean-Pierre Taïeb
Released by: Cutting Edge