Ogilvy & Mather Chicago Crafts ‘Hemingway in 15 Seconds’

By Erik Oster 

Ogilvy & Mather Chicago created an Instagram campaign for The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park adapting three classic Hemingway novels into 15-second videos.

The idea behind the campaign is that, while Hemingway’s novels are rightly considered modern classics, younger generations aren’t reading his work. So The Ernest Hemingway Foundation tasked Ogilvy & Mather Chicago with finding a way to stoke interest in the author, and the agency decided to use the popular Instagram platform. The videos are all fairly tongue-in-cheek, telling the entire plot of each novel — A Farewell To Arms, For Whom The Bell Tolls and The Old Man and the Sea — in a way designed to pique interest in the works.


Director Eduardo Cintron made every second count, as the videos had just 15 seconds to tell the entire plot of a novel. Sometimes the self-effacing humor risks going to far and parodying the work to the point where it undermines it, but for the most part they strike a balance between reverence and irreverence (after all, these are supposed to be fun), with each video ending by directing viewers to the The Ernest Hemingway Foundation’s site. Whether they can get kids to actually read For Whom The Bell Tolls is another story.

Here’s The Old Man and the Sea:

And For Whom the Bell Tolls:


Client: The Ernest Hemingway Foundation of Oak Park

Agency: Ogilvy & Mather, Chicago

Chief Creative Officer: Joe Sciarrotta

Group Creative Directors: Chris Turner, Dave Metcalf

Creative Directors: Bowen Mendelson, Andrew Gall

Associate Creative Director: Isaac Pagan

Copywriter: Michael Franklin

Producer: Lisa Hinrichs

Account Executive: Jane Johnsen

Sound Design: David Axelbaum, Airstream

Audio: Joe Griffin

Production Company: Deboka Films

Director: Eduardo Cintron

Set and Puppets: Kate Stransky

Cgi/Vfx Supervisor, Animator, 3D Design: Noah Schloss

Director of Photography: Jake Zalutsky

Character Modeling: Sebastian Szyszka

Character Rigger: Clark Stanton

2nd Animator: Bradley Bischoff

Design and Animation: Juan Carlos Montes

Editor: Clockwork