Responses by Cecelia Parrish, planning director and Ty Harper, vice president/senior art director, Martin Agency
Background: We were inspired by John F. Kennedy to look ahead and ask the question: “How do we turn the challenges of the present into a solution or set of solutions?” Do we want to go all the way back to where we were before the pandemic began, or can we build something that’s better than we had before? How can we tap into JFK’s timeless words to be the catalyst for inspiring positive change—across generations and political party lines—and moving forward?
Reasoning: Our nation is more divided than ever with an every-person-for-themselves mentality. We, however, are afforded an opportunity as a nation that we may never get again: to start anew. If there’s any silver lining to the recent cultural crises, it’s how we’ve been reminded what we had before can be improved. And as the country continues to struggle with issues related to systemic racism, this campaign is meant to bolster this reminder, our responsibility for “this country to deliver on its promise of equality and justice for all.” Now is our chance to take control, to change the current narrative of a divided country and work together as one. It’s time to reset. We have a chance to start over, to do better, to be better and to push for a truly united country. We are a country looking toward the future, toward what we can accomplish—rather than looking to the past, trying to point fingers and assign blame.
Challenges: Time. Our team had to move quickly to create a response for everything going on in the world—especially since every day brings new events, challenges and developments. Culture is moving at warp speed right now. If you don’t act quickly, your message is no longer relevant.
Visual influences: To be honest, it’s all about the words JFK spoke exactly 60 years ago. So, the solution seemed to present itself: focus on the words. Everything else in the one-minute spot, like the photos of JFK and the little animations are there to support and enhance the words.
Time constraints: We had to be nimble and adjust the message of the spot as new developments occurred in the world. Overall, the time constraints helped us create something incredibly powerful because we didn’t have time to overthink or overanalyze. It’s all filled with heart and emotion, not reason or rationale—and those are the messages that truly resonate.
Anything new: Seeing the power of passionate people—our team and those out there fighting to create a new normal, a world where everyone is truly equal and heard—was incredibly motivating. It’s something that JFK truly believed in. But to see it happening while working on this really lit a fire in us to put all of our heart and soul into this message.