Creative Director’s Choice: Bernstein-Rein’s Lara Wyckoff on Walmart’s hurricane relief efforts for the American Red Cross

Lara Wyckoff, ECD at Bernstein-Rein

Creative Director’s Choice gives creative directors a chance to highlight the current work they think is the best out in the ad world – the ads and campaigns they think are making a difference. Each week The Drum is featuring the words of a creative director or other top creative on the work they find funny, powerful or otherwise engaging.

This week, Lara Wyckoff, executive creative director at Bernstein-Rein, casts a respectful eye to the work of Haworth Marketing and their efforts to get the word out about hurricane relief efforts by Walmart and the American Red Cross. See all the creative by clicking the creative works box below the commentary.

When disaster strikes, brands have to be careful. It's important to help, of course. It's also important to look engaged. That engagement, though, must be handled carefully. A brand that looks like it’s trying to profit from the suffering of others risks a potentially vicious backlash.

Walmart's ‘American Red Cross: Better Together,’ created by agency Mono, avoids that pitfall. First, the quick execution was key. By getting the ad out immediately, Walmart comes off as responsive and connected. Secondly, the message is authentic – an accurate representation of the brand. Where else, after all, would flood victims go to find bottled water, clean socks, and power tools all under the same roof?

From an aesthetic perceptive, the spot works because of an admirable simplicity. The unadorned chords of “Lean on Me” immediately evoke compassion. The images of flood victims helping each other tug at the heartstrings.

The message, that Walmart will double its customers' donations, communicates that we're all in this together. Combine all those elements and you've got an ad that's direct, respectful and authentic. Most importantly, the spot genuinely helps people. You can't ask for much more than that.

Lara Wyckoff is executive creative director at Kansas City agency Bernstein-Rein.

To see the latest creative ads and campaigns, please visit The Drum’s Creative Works section. If you or your creative director would like to be featured in our Creative Director’s Choice, please contact Kyle O’Brien at

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