The Y Takes a Long Hard Look at a Divided America in a Powerfully Political Spot

Topical Ad by Droga5 Highlights the Power of Communities to Heal

Published On
Sep 25, 2017

Editor's Pick

In the wake of Charlottesville, Trump's stand-off with the NFL and other recent events that reflect a divided America, a new campaign from the YMCA has powerful resonance.

The latest work from Droga5 for the organization takes a long hard look at the concept of "us" - i.e., America. The 90-second spot opens with a fluttering national flag and children reciting the pledge of allegiance at school, then features a montage of diverse communities and people coming together in positive ways (for example, a white man helps the black victim of a road accident).

But, the voiceover goes on to warn, "Right now, that bond is fraying." We hear the wailing of sirens and whirring of helicopters, see a child lying on her bed seemingly depressed by social media, witness angry arguing between people of different generations and schoolkids laughing at a young woman in Arab dress. "Where do we find common ground?" it asks, before going on to suggest that answer is the community feeling and power to heal that the YMCA fosters. "The Y fills the gap and bridges the divides," we are told, as we see people of different races, ethnicities and abilities taking part in different activities together.

Droga5's previous work for the Y has included one spot predicting a future female president and another highlighting America's deprived communities--but this one is the mostly starkly political yet.

"Us" is based on a key insight about the things people across the country are experiencing, from anxiety to social isolation, to a lack of empathy," says Valerie Barker Waller, senior vice president and chief marketing officer, Y-USA. "We want the country to know that, among the daily struggles, the Y is there--to bring people together, to help find common ground and to address pressing social issues that so many communities are facing."

The TV spotc, airing on multiple broadcast networks including ABC, CBS and NBC, was directed by Malik Vitthal at The Corner Shop. The campaign also includes several radio spots, digital assets and social media content, all which feature kids, adults and families who are members of the Y.


Sep 25, 2017
Brand :
Client :
Agency :
Chairperson :
David Droga
Chief Creative Officer :
Ted Royer
Executive Creative Director :
Kevin Brady
Group Creative Director :
Casey Rand
Group Creative Director :
Karen Short
Copywriter :
Gabe Sherman
Art Director :
Gage Young
Junior Copywriter :
Patrick Newman
Junior Art Director :
Sonja Johnson
Junior Copywriter :
James Gross
Junior Art Director :
Gianna DAmico
Chief Creative Officer :
Sally-Ann Dale
Co-Director, Film Production :
Bryan Litman
Co-Director, Film Production :
Jesse Brihn
Producer :
Gabija Blake
Associate Producer :
Tony Xie
Music Supervisor :
Mike Ladman
Business Affairs Director :
Jocelyn Howard
Integrated Business Affairs Manager :
Keith Marman
Associate Director, Interactive :
Justin Durazzo
Executive Producer, Interactive :
Tasha Cronin
Experiential Executive Producer :
Bo Djogo
Producer, Interactive :
Aaron Matys
Director, Art Production :
Cliff Lewis
Art Producer :
Nichole Katsikas
Global Chief Strategy Officer :
Jonny Bauer
Co-Head of Strategy :
Colm Murphy
Director, Strategy :
Jennifer Lange
Head of Communications Strategy :
Colleen Leddy
Senior Communications Strategist :
Hillary Fink
Communications Strategist :
Mark Longacre
Chief Intelligence Officer :
Amy Avery
Senior Data Strategist :
Brad Mumbrue
Junior Data Strategist :
Alexandra Grant
Head of Account Management :
Dan Gonda
Account Director :
Amanda Chandler
Account Manager :
Susannah Wherry
Project Manager :
Meredith Robinson
Senior Vice President, Chief Marketing Officer :
Valerie Waller
Creative Director :
Wendy Currie
Director, Marketing :
Joi Freeman
Graphic Designer :
Yoshiki Araya
Video and Multimedia Producer :
Jeff Saunders
Communications Manager of Marketing Communications :
Dorothy Mora
Production Company :
The Corner Shop
Director :
Malik Vitthal
Director, Photography :
Ashley Connor
Executive Producer :
Anna Hashmi
Producer :
Jennifer Duffy
Editorial :
Work Editorial
Editor :
Adam Robinson
Assistant Editor :
Theo Mercado
Executive Producer :
Erica Thompson
Producer :
Sari Resnick
Post Production :
Executive Producer :
Charlotte Arnold
Producer :
Alexa Mauro
2D Lead Artist :
Daniel Morris
2D Artist :
Steve Koenig
2D Artist :
Margolit Steiner
2D Artist :
Jay Lee
Color :
Company 3
Colorist :
Tom Poole
Producer :
Alexandra Lubrano
Music Composition :
Composer :
Benjamin Balcom
Sound Director :
Sonic Union
Mixer :
Michael Marinelli
Radio Mix :
Paul Weiss
Producer :
Patrick Sullivan
Producer :
Justine Cortale
Photographer :
Landon Speers
Production Company :

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