Can You Figure Out the Mystery Inside This Remarkable Ad About High School Love?

A message deeper than idle sketches

Here’s a pretty amazing ad from BBDO New York, with a mystery at its core.

At the outset, we meet Evan, a high school kid who can’t wait for summer break. He’s so bored that he begins etching words into a table in the library. The next day, he finds that someone has written back to him on the table—and there ensues a back-and-forth that’s pretty captivating. Perhaps too captivating.

There seems to be romance building, or at least the hint of it. Who’s been writing back to Evan? And will he ever connect with them?

Watch below to find out, before reading further.

It’s a completely disorienting ending, and that’s the point. As the spot shows the prior scenes once again, it’s baffling how you could have missed so much of what was on the screen.

Which is, of course, the message from the advertiser, Sandy Hook Promise, a nonpartisan nonprofit led by family members whose loved ones were killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School four years ago this month.

“Through ‘Evan,’ we sought to show how different your perspective can be when you’re aware of the signs,” says Greg Hahn, chief creative officer of BBDO New York. “We’ve been fortunate to work with the inspiring people at Sandy Hook Promise to help parents, students and teachers better identify these signs.”

“When you don’t know what to look for, or can’t recognize what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant. That can lead to tragic consequences,” says Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise, who lost her first-grade son Dylan in the Sandy Hook massacre.

“It is important for us to show youth and adults that they are not helpless in protecting their community from gun violence—these acts are preventable when you know the signs.  Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives.”

Sandy Hook Promise says 80 percent of school shooters and 70 percent of individuals who completed suicides told someone of their plans before taking action—but all too often, no one intervenes.

CREDITS
Client: Sandy Hook Promise
Spot: “Evan”

Agency: BBDO New York
David Lubars, Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide
Greg Hahn, Chief Creative Officer, New York
Peter Alsante, Creative Director
Bryan Stokely, Copywriter
Martins Zelcs, Art Director
Julian Katz, Group Executive Producer
Lindsey Cash, Account Director
Sean Stogner, Communications Planning Director
Michael Schonfeld, Communications Planning Associate

Client: Sandy Hook Promise
Nicole Hockley, Founder & Managing Director
Tim Makris, Founder & Managing Director

Production Company: Smuggler
Henry-Alex Rubin, Director
Patrick Milling Smith, Partner
Brian Carmody, Partner
Drew Santarsiero, Executive Producer
Andrew Colon, Chief Operating Officer
Leah Allina, Producer
Ken Seng, Director of Photography

Post Production: NO6
Editor: Jason Macdonald
Additional Editor: Nick Schneider
Executive Producer: Corina Dennison
Post Producer: Malia Rose
Flame Artist: Ed Skupeen
Flame Assist: Mark Reyes
Colorist: Jason Macdonald

Audio Post: Heard City
Mixer: Stefano Campello
Mixer: Evan Mangiamele
Audio Executive Producer: Sasha Awn

Music Supervision and Clearance by Beta Petrol

Song: “Johnny Met June”
Written and Performed by Shelby Lynne
Courtesy Capitol Records, Inc. and Kobalt Music Publishing America, Inc.