Leo Burnett Makes Nifty Use of ‘Skip Ad’ to Symbolize Ex-Offender Struggles

By Erik Oster 

Leo Burnett Change has launched a new campaign for the charity Business in the Community, highlighting the difficulties and discrimination ex-offenders face on the job market for the “Ban the Box” project. “Ban the Box,” is a project “calling on UK employers to remove the default criminal-record disclosure tick box from job application forms.” To call attention to this issue, Leo Burnett Chance took an innovative and thought-provoking approach to express the prejudice faced by ex-offenders on the job market.

The interactive spot “Second Chance” (after the jump), directed by Dougal Wilson, puts the viewer in the position of an employer interviewing an ex-offender. Just after the potential employee reveals that he was released from prison six months ago, the “skip ad” button appears. But this isn’t to skip through the rest of the video. The employee in this case is the ad. Leo Burnett equates the hasty discrimination many employers apply to ex-offenders interviewing for a job with viewers hastily pressing the “skip ad” button to get to their desired content. This is where the video gets interactive. If the viewer presses the “skip ad” button he or she is brought back to the video, this time with a more dejected, less articulate ex-offender. This can go on for several clicks of the “skip ad” button until the job applicant becomes fully dejected and says “I’m sorry that you didn’t want to listen. I hope you can find time in the future to give an ex-offender like me a second chance.” If the viewer does not press the skip ad button, the ex-offender becomes more confident and articulate as the video progresses, eventually expressing gratitude to the viewer for listening to him.


Since everyone has gone through the experience of clicking the “skip ad” button without a second thought, it’s a great way to exemplify the prejudice faced by ex-offenders. You actually start to feel bad pressing the button and (seemingly) making the poor guy suffer. By putting the viewer in the spot of the employer and making it as easy as pressing a button to completely ignore the job applicant, people really get an idea of what it must feel like to be dismissed and discriminated against so easily and immediately. This also equates the “skip ad” button with the criminal-record disclosure box, exemplifying how it can lead to hasty and prejudiced decisions by employers. “Second Chance” is that rare spot that actually might make people think about an issue. It’s almost enough to make you re-think skipping the ads to get to your YouTube content, too. Okay, not really. Credits after the jump.Credits 

Executive Creative Director: Justin Tindall

Creative Director: Adam Tucker

Creatives: Hugh Todd, Darren Keff, Phillip Meyler

Account Team: Alice Hooper, Sarah Kay, Sofia Sarkar

Agency Planner: Kit Patrick

Agency Producer: Natalie Kozlowska, Graeme Light

Director/ Production Co.: Dougal Wilson/ Blink

Producer: Patrick Craig

Editor: Ed Cheeseman at Final Cut

Post Production: (Grade) MPC

Sound Design: Grand Central

DoP: Benjamin Todd

Technical Director: Peter Eichorn

Digital Production: Holler

Digital Producer: Camille Sims

Digital Creative Director: Charlie Martin