Adobe’s Oscars Ad Is a Colorful, Trippy Ode to Creativity

Billie Eilish and Malala Yousafzai make cameos in the hypnotic spot

malala yousafzai
Malala Yousafzai is one of a few famous faces to appear in the ad by Goodby Silverstein & Partners. Adobe
Headshot of Ian Zelaya

For anyone who’s wanted to fulfill a creative idea with a digital project, Adobe is reminding folks it has the tools to make it happen.

The software company has debuted a new campaign timed to the 92nd annual Academy Awards, themed around democratizing creativity and making its suite of programs accessible to everyone. Adobe will kick off its “Creativity for all” campaign with a 60-second spot during ABC’s Oscars telecast on Sunday night.

The mixed-media spot, created by agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, takes viewers on a colorful, hypnotic journey through the company’s slate of graphic design, video and photo editing, and web development tools.

Fittingly set to “Pure Imagination” from Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory, the ad features imagery made by more than 1,000 creatives using Adobe tools, such as a Make Art Not War piece by Shepard Fairey and a psychedelic illustration of Frida Kahlo by Victoria Pavlov.

The ad features a digital appearance by activist Malala Yousafzai and a cameo (both real and animated) by Grammy-winning musician Billie Eilish, who will perform at this year’s Oscars. The spot also cuts to an animated rainbow graphic celebrating pride, and a striking image of polar bears and melting ice caps that addresses climate change.

“Every single frame of the ‘Creativity for all’ ad is an ode to Adobe’s amazing creative community,” said Ann Lewnes, CMO of Adobe, in a statement. “It showcases the work of people from all over the world who inspire us with their imagination, drive to push creative boundaries and ability to shape culture. It’s our way of celebrating the true power of creativity.”

Along with the 60-second TV ad, Adobe released its first-ever “thank you” spot online, which features a production credit list that includes the artists who created the imagery.

As part of the campaign, Adobe also launched a social initiative in partnership with education nonprofit Teach for America. Using the hashtag #CreativityForAll, the campaign will encourage people to tweet about their personal Oscar moment and who they would like to thank. Today through Feb. 11, for every tweet that includes the hashtag, Adobe will donate $5 to the organization in hopes of reaching 15,000 teachers and 500,000 students who might not have access to creative programs.

“For generations, creativity was reserved for the lucky few with the means to pursue their passions. But thankfully, times have changed—and in today’s world, the tools to create are available to everyone, everywhere,” added Wes Phelan, creative director at GS&P. “‘Creativity for all’ is more than a film. It’s a rallying cry for the modern era of creation and a call to arms for creatives and creators across the world.”

The trippy ad is similar to a spot GS&P created for Adobe in 2015, also timed to the Oscars. That ad, set to Aerosmith’s “Dream On,” celebrated the 25th anniversary of Photoshop.

It’s already been a busy 2020 for GS&P. The San Francisco-based agency created four PepsiCo ads for the Super Bowl.

While Adobe tends to produce eye-catching digital ads, the company also gets creative with its physical activations. For its 2019 Adobe Summit, the company celebrated the 25th anniversary of the first banner ad with a ‘90s-themed experience.


EVP and CMO: Ann Lewnes
VP, Experience Marketing: Alex Amado
Chief Creative Director: AJ Joseph
Director, Advertising and Production: Joel Giullian

Goodby Silverstein & Partners
Co-Founder/Partner: Jeff Goodby
Co-Founder/Partner: Rich Silverstein
Chief Creative Officer: Margaret Johnson
Creative Director: Matt Edwards
Creative Director: Wes Phelan
Art Director: Jason Gan
Copywriter: Clark Chamberlin

Head of Broadcast Production: Leila Gage
Executive Producer: Tess Kenner

Director of Graphic Services: Jim King

Account Services
Managing Partner: Brian McPherson
Account Manager: Meghan Mast
Assistant Account Manager: Hannah Hadley

Business Affairs
Director of Business Affairs: Judy Ybarra
Senior Business Affairs Manager: Heidi Killeen

Production Company
Director: Buck
Executive Creative Director: Ryan Honey
Creative Director: Jenny Ko
Creative Director (Interim): Georgia Tribuiani
Associate Creative Director: Richard Gray
Art Director: Kyle Strope
Executive Producer: Luisa Murray
Producer: Sunny Sattari
Producer: Ryan Mack
Animation Director: Daniel Coutinho
Animation Lead: Esteban Esquivo
Animation Lead: Peter Kallstrom
Editor: Paal Rui
Editor: Billy Kostka
Editor: Marianne Karaan
Editor: Andrew Gura
Storyboard Artist: Silvia Bassoli
Designer: Ayla Murtada
Designer: Ben Nichols
Designer: Camily Tsai
Designer: Chelsea Lee
Designer: Dae-Han Yi
Designer: Daniel Hyo Kim
Designer: Debora Cruchon
Designer: Esther Moon
Designer: Eve Hodgkinson
Designer: Jigyu (Jigs) Yoon
Designer: Jong Lee
Designer: Kenneth Robin
Designer: Kevin Kim
Designer: Lauren Gaballo
Designer: Lina Yu
Designer: Mike Payne
Designer: Mike Tello
Designer: Shannon Rollins
Designer: Soon Joo
Designer: Zoe Schneider
Animator: Jake Armstrong
Animator: Jasmine Ung
Animator: Jasper Hilgers
Animator: Junyi Xiao
Animator: Kyle Griggs
Animator: Sam Kim
Animator: Stephen Loveluck
Animator: Taylor Griggs
Animator: Zach Eastburg

Mix and Sound Design
Company name: One Union Recording Studios
Senior Audio Engineer: Eben Carr
Executive Producer: Jaylen Block-Smith

Music: “Pure Imagination”
Vocals: Gene Wilder
Writer: Anthony Newley
Writer: Leslie Bricusse
Licenses Courtesy of: Downtown Music Publishing LLC
Licenses Courtesy of: Taradam Music, Inc.
Licenses Courtesy of: The Roald Dahl Story Company Limited
Licenses Courtesy of: Warner Brothers Pictures

Music Arrangement
Company name: Human
Executive Producer: Carol Dunn
Creative and Arrangement: Justin Hori Ian Zelaya is an Adweek reporter covering how brands engage with consumers in the modern world, ranging from experiential marketing and social media to email marketing and customer experience.