Creative Director's Choice: Barker's Sandi Harari on American Greetings' emotional take on infertility

Sandi Harari of Barker

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 believe are making a difference. Each week, The Drum features the words of a creative director or other top creative on the work they find funny, powerful or otherwise engaging.

This week, Barker's executive vice president, creative director, Sandi Harari, offers her take on the emotional American Greetings spot that highlights a couple going through struggles with infertility. See all the creative by clicking the Creative Works box below the commentary.

I choke up every time I see it. And I'm most likely going on viewing number 22. I've watched it as a creative director, admiring the camera angles and reverse-engineering, the decisions made in casting. I've watched it as a mother, caught in the emotion of the story – and left feeling appreciative for what I have. And I’ve watched it as just a human, devoid of all my labels, reminding me to give meaning to the real people in my life that matter.

It's the American Greetings #GiveMeaning campaign by MullenLowe, and in particular I’m talking about the ‘Not Alone’ spot. The campaign message: "A card is just a card. But in the right moment it means everything.”

Timed to National Parents Day, ‘Not Alone’ tells the story of a couple struggling with infertility – and there are no sappy endings here. It’s a brave move on American Greetings’ part. Gripping from the first chord of music, it takes an unflinching look at a sensitive topic that happens in the shadows yet affects couples in such a powerful way. The conversation around motherhood is all too often about how hard it is to be a mother, but no brand I can think of is owning how hard it is to become one.

Artistically, with every decision that went into making it, it’s clear that this was a story that was going to be told with dignity. The editing, camera angles, sound design and score tell this story in a very raw and intimate way and it is total perfection.

When brands “ladder up” to a high-level emotion, it doesn’t always work. Sometimes they overreach and forget… um it’s really just toothpaste. But here it’s perfect and strikes the right chord.

Thank you to American Greetings for reminding me of the power of real human connections, in a way that not only had staying power, but also linked their brand with the real reasons to give a card – not just the obligatory birthday or holiday – but all the other stuff that happens in life. Life is rich with ups and downs and the ability to be thoughtful and care for each other is one of its many beauties.

Sandi Harari is executive vice president, creative director at Barker in New York City.

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.

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