Smartphones Troll Their Owners in Clever Ads About Learning and Attention Issues

'Why don't you understand me?'

Parents grow increasingly frustrated as Siri-type phone assistants misunderstand their requests in a pair of 60-second Advertising Council PSAs from Publicis Kaplan Thaler.

The goal is to build empathy for kids with learning and attention issues—watch the ads to see how—and to introduce Understood.org, a cooperative effort among several nonprofits providing access to support and resources. A print ad reinforces the theme, showing a notebook page with a child's writing that's been erased many times, while the words "I want to be understood" remain.

"Put yourself in children's shoes, and you can truly understand their frustration," says agency creative director Larissa Kirschner, whose young son struggles with such issues. It's a sharp approach, skipping familiar images of kids struggling to read or comprehend their schoolwork in favor of a deeper narrative about the importance of communication and connection.

"The crux of the campaign is that understanding is everything," Kirschner says.

That message comes through loud and clear.