When it comes to emotive advertising, Viola Davis seems to be the go-to actor at the moment, not only appearing in the latest L'Oreal ad about self-worth but narrating a new heartfelt film about the pandemic from Bank of America.
The film is called "Commencement" and Davis' voiceover takes the form of a commencement speech of sorts, except that she's pointing out that "we won't get a diploma or a degree or any sort...but we are entering a new chapter in our lives."
Rattling Stick's Ringan Ledwidge directed the film for Leo Burnett, using the motif of lights of coming back on in the darkness to give us a message of hope for the future and symbolize the economy's rebirth. (While the ad broke last week, it seems particularly poignant in the light of this weekend's events across America.)
The footage was all filmed in the U.S., with Ledwidge directing from afar via Zoom. It includes images of closed stores, theaters, restaurants, factories, schools and sports venues switching their lights back on. Davis' speech ends with a riff on the famous Leonard Cohen quote: "There's a crack in everything for a reason...how else can the light get in?"
"I really wanted to capture the spirit that runs through the country,” Ledwidge says of his vision for the spot. “It was important that the locations, although free of people, resonated emotionally, felt familiar and all-encompassing. I guess in a way they’re a reminder of the wonderful things we do and one day, step by step, will do again.”