Eleven and Helix Offer a Twist on the Standard Personal Genomics Campaign

By Patrick Coffee 

Early this year, San Francisco indie agency Eleven won a review to handle creative work for Helix, a Bay Area startup focused on selling a unique product: individual DNA profiles.

Yes, it sounds a little dry, but it was really quite interesting in that Helix isn’t just an Ancestry or 23andMe-type service designed to help you figure out how many of your relatives were Scots and how many were Irish.

The idea is that the act of establishing one’s own “personal genomics” doesn’t just help clear up your family history. It could be used to sell all sorts of personal products from wines to services that recommend exercise routines or medications.


This week, Helix launched its first brand campaign. And like the company itself, it’s not quite your dad’s DNA sequencing business.

That was a fun head fake. You thought it was going to be a GoT-style reveal about her Viking roots, didn’t you?

Stacy brings a similar but slightly less dramatic twist.

Seems that DNA tests can tell you some very practical things you wouldn’t have known about yourself otherwise.

It’s a shame that Natalie can’t enjoy her favorite beverages now, but perhaps that’s for the best.

The final spot concerns a group that is very, very interested in genetics: future parents. (This is especially true if you happen to live in Brooklyn or Southern California.)

This campaign’s primary goal, as we see it, was to add a bit of personal color to a product that could easily become dry and humorless.

“The goal of the creative was to show how Helix can help people make more informed choices and decisions about their health, fitness, nutrition, and more,” said Eleven CD Chad Leitz. “We wanted to illustrate the promise and possibility of how DNA can actually enhance peoples’ lives daily, so we honed in on the idea of the personal DNA result. We illustrated people in exaggerated circumstances, taking life into their own hands with the new knowledge they’ve discovered about themselves through the Helix platform.”

Helix’s head of launch and partner marketing Jessica Graham added, “The campaign aims to represent and announce the Helix value proposition as something entirely different and revolutionary within the category.  Together we landed on ‘Crack Your Code’ as our tagline as it’s a message we felt was actionable that could inspire people to be proactive in learning about themselves. It’s not only our new tagline but also a call to action for curious people.”

After talking to the agency and posting on this campaign, we can legitimately say we are more interested in the service. And isn’t that what success in advertising is all about?



Agency: Eleven, Inc.
Client: Helix
Chief Creative Officer: Mike McKay
Creative Director: Chad Leitz, Matt Wakeman
Strategist: Nita Grubb
Social Strategist: Jessica Gast
Director, Marketplace Insights: Gary Stein
Media Supervisor: Megan Myall, Keturah Alsworth
Activation Strategist: Matt Hiltachk
Business Lead: Tristan Besse
Executive Integrated Producer: Candice Matthews
Associate Integrated Producer: Sarah Koe

Art Director: Jacob Hellstrom
Copywriter: John Friedman
Content Producer: Sophia Pellicoro
Production Company: Supply and Demand
Director: Anton Visser
Executive Producer: Tim Case/Jeff Scuton
Producer: Ari Hakim
Editorial: Whitehouse Post
Editor: Brian Gannon
Assistant Editor: Emma Platek
Post Production Producer: Sasha Grubor/Charleen Manca
Recording Studio: One Union
Audio Engineer: Joaby Deal
Music House: Songs for TV and Film
Music Producer: David Fisher
VFX House: Ingenuity Studios

Art Director: Flavia Gonzalez
Junior Art Director: Daisy Serafini
Copywriter: John Friedman, Justin Stielow
Junior Copywriter: Emilia Holl
Print and Art Producer: Jeannine Giordan
Digital Producer: Amy Rodier
Photographer: Zachary Scott — rep’d by Sharpe & Associates
Production Co.: Sluiter Productions