Sequels are tough. Ultimately, they're rarely evaluated on their own terms. The mere existence of a sequel, in most cases, means something noteworthy, and oftentimes excellent, came before. So from the start, there's an unfair standard of comparison.
Such is the case with "Murilo's First 100 Days."
The three-minute film by ad shop Mood for Huggies Brazil follows last year's viral smash "Meeting Murilo," which told the true story of a sight-impaired woman, Tatiana, who comes to know her unborn son by touching a lifelike 3-D printed model of the baby created from an ultrasound scan.
In the new video, we watch as Tatiana bonds with Murilo, who is now newborn. As in the original, the power of touch is paramount. Here the tactile sensation of skin against skin matters most, and images of Tatiana bathing, carrying and caressing her infant achieve a kind of intense poetic power, much to the credit of director Jorge Brivilati.
"Huggies believes hugs are essential for your baby to thrive," reads an onscreen message. "Give a hug and you'll see."
While that's a sweet sentiment, and an affecting bit of wordplay given Tatiana's circumstances, it falls a bit flat, especially when matched up against the novel approach and powerful vision of its predecessor.
The incredible "hook" of the first ad—shots of Tatiana running her fingers along the 3-D printed image of Murilo's tiny, delicate face—was emotionally transcendent. For some viewers, perhaps, such scenes were unforgettable. The sequel, though flawlessly filmed and moving in its way, offers nothing to match such poignant and exhilarating highs.
"Being able to record these love exchanges between mother and child and the importance of an embrace is a gift for the brand," says Priya Patel, director of the infant-care category at Huggies parent Kimberly-Clark Brazil.
That may be true. And our take would have been somewhat more positive if "Murilo's First 100 Days" hadn't been a sequel. Unfair? Absolutely.
Alas, what we have here is a fine piece of work—touching, but far from transcendent, and unlikely to be as universally embraced as the original.
Client: Kimberly-Clark – Huggies
Title: Os primeiros 100 dias de Murilo
Creative Directors: Bruno Brasileiro, Felipe Munhoz and Rafael Gonzaga
Creation: André Félix, Bruno Brasileiro, Felipe Munhoz and Rafael Gonzaga
Convergence: Luis Constantino and Sabrina Tito
Customer Service: Fábio Meneghati and Camilla Lojudice
Media: Eduardo Lellis
Planning: Daniel Rios e Fabricio Natoli
RTV: Rita Teófilo and Thiago Campos
Producer: La casa de la madre
Executive Producer: Paulo Geraissate
Customer Service: Paula Ferrari
Director: J. Brivilati
Director of Photography: J. Brivilati
Art Director (Producer): Thais Trolize
Editing: Douglas Gomes
Audio Producer: Lua Nova
Conductors: Thomas Roth and Teco Fuchs
Customer Service: Tiago Armani
Sound Design: Lua Nova team
Client Approval: Lizandra Bertoncini, Maria Eugênia Duca, Priya Patel and Simone Simões