Upon first watching this ad, you’d think it was about a budding romance, but there’s actually a message hidden among the happy teens.
The story follows Evan, a high schooler that’s all too ready for summer break. Filled with boredom, Evan starts to write down messages onto a library table. The following day, he receives a reply on the table which kicks off an enthralling conversation between Evan and a mystery person. The ad plays out like a short romance film, but there is more than meets the eye.
The end of the ad is completely shocking. It’s not until the ad plays again, this time highlighting what you missed, that you begin to understand the message.
The ad was created by agency BBDO New York for Sandy Hook Promise, a nonpartisan nonprofit managed by the family members of those killed at Sandy Hook Elementary School.
“Through ‘Evan,’ we sought to show how different your perspective can be when you’re aware of the signs,” says chief creative officer of BBDO New York 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.”
“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,” says co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise Nicole Hockley. “It is important for us to show youth and adults that they are not helpless in protecting their community from gun violence—these acts are preventable when you show the signs. Everyone has the power to intervene and get help. These actions can save lives.”