Multiple Brand Commercials Come Together to Form Powerful Autism Awareness PSA


By Elizabeth S. Mitchell Comment

In an effort to round out Autism Awareness month with a powerful (yet still brand-centered) message, advertising agency BBDO New York has created three separate commercial spots for clients Band-Aid, Campbell’s Soup and AT&T, which, when viewed together, combine to form a PSA about the difference that early diagnosis can make in the life of a child with autism.

The series of spots, which first aired together during Monday’s CNN’s News Day, opens with a brief message from Autism Speaks, which says, “Learn the early signs of autism today. Because an early diagnosis can make a lifetime of difference.” The viewer then watches a young boy with autism grow up over the course of three fifteen-second, brand-sponsored clips — his mother applies a Band-Aid to his injured knee as a toddler; he takes a hearty bite of Campbell’s soup as a growing boy; he receives a device powered by AT&T as a high school graduate.

The project works well and is quietly powerful because the situations pictured are brief, relatable, and feel exceptionally real — this appears to be an ordinary family living their ordinary lives, but it’s through everyday scenarios that extraordinary progress is made, and extraordinary love is felt; such is the case in all of our lives. Furthermore, the brand integration feels seamless because the common, everyday products pictured are often staples of a child-rearing household, so the brand messages do not disrupt the greater message or feel shoehorned in.

“With April being Autism Awareness month, we were looking for a way to dramatically tell this story,” said Greg Hahn, chief creative officer at BBDO New York. “We found it through a partnership with our brilliant clients who eagerly embraced the convention-breaking, innovative spirit of the idea. The result is an ad that’s like the Super Friends of public education messages.”