People Are Still Flipping Out About BBDO New York’s ‘Evan’ Spot for Sandy Hook Promise

By Erik Oster 

We were the only people on earth who missed this one when it first appeared last Friday because we were too busy on that grossly overpaid actor beat. But BBDO New York’s “Evan” spot has been generating quite a bit of attention, breaking out from the industry blog circle into mainstream media coverage from CNN, People, Us Weekly and The New York Times’ newest political correspondent.

In other words, it has gotten a lot more media coverage than your standard campaign, and you already know why.

“Evan” tells a seemingly everyday tale of budding high school romance, but the real story is hiding in the background the whole time. (We won’t spoil the reveal in case you took Friday off and didn’t check any social media networks all weekend.)

By hiding its true message until the end, “Evan” manages something most gun violence PSA efforts don’t: echoing the surprise and shock of a school shooting while managing to show how easy it is to miss the warning signs. After its big shocking moment, the spot goes back to the preceding footage, showing how the school shooter to be was exhibiting warning signs in the background the entire time that went unnoticed. It’s all in service of Sandy Hook Promise, a nonprofit founded by family members of victims of the Sandy Hook Elementary shooting of December 14, 2012. The organization is dedicated to preventing gun-related deaths through gun violence prevention programs and promoting the passage of “sensible state and national policy” regarding gun control.

“When you don’t know what to look for, or can’t recognize what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant. That can lead to tragic consequences,” Sandy Hook Promise co-founder Nicole Hockley, who lost her son in the 2012 Sandy Hook Elementary School shooting, told Adweek.

“Through ‘Evan,’ we sought to show how different your perspective can be when you’re aware of the signs,” added BBDO CCO Greg Hahn. “We’ve been fortunate to work with the inspiring people at Sandy Hook Promise to help parents, students and teachers better identify these signs.”

Now, in the honored AgencySpy tradition, our readers will proceed to explain why this work is nowhere near as good as everyone seems to think it is.

Client: Sandy Hook Promise
Spot: “Evan”
Agency: BBDO New York
David Lubars, Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide
Greg Hahn, Chief Creative Officer, New York
Peter Alsante, Creative Director
Bryan Stokely, Copywriter
Martins Zelcs, Art Director
Julian Katz, Group Executive Producer
Lindsey Cash, Account Director
Sean Stogner, Communications Planning Director
Michael Schonfeld, Communications Planning Associate
Client: Sandy Hook Promise
Nicole Hockley, Founder & Managing Director
Tim Makris, Founder & Managing Director
Production Company: Smuggler
Henry-Alex Rubin, Director
Patrick Milling Smith, Partner
Brian Carmody, Partner
Drew Santarsiero, Executive Producer
Andrew Colon, Chief Operating Officer
Leah Allina, Producer
Ken Seng, Director of Photography
Post Production: NO6
Editor: Jason Macdonald
Additional Editor: Nick Schneider
Executive Producer: Corina Dennison
Post Producer: Malia Rose
Flame Artist: Ed Skupeen
Flame Assist: Mark Reyes
Colorist: Jason Macdonald
Audio Post: Heard City
Mixer: Stefano Campello
Mixer: Evan Mangiamele
Audio Executive Producer: Sasha Awn
Music Supervision and Clearance by Beta Petrol
Song: “Johnny Met June”
Written and Performed by Shelby Lynne
Courtesy Capitol Records, Inc. and Kobalt Music Publishing America, Inc.