Dave’s Killer Bread has been a vocal supporter of second-chance employment for the better part of a decade—a cause the brand embraced in part because of the history of its founder, Dave Dahl, who spent more 15 years in prison for various offenses before founding the company in 2005.
Now, a series of new ads from TRG emphasizes that support, by featuring three Dave’s employees (the company calls them “partners”) who were once incarcerated.
As you can see in this first spot, the work includes visual misdirects to make it seem like the setting is a prison. But then the ads shift to show the partners at work—“doing life,” as the onscreen copy says.
Dave’s hasn’t often mentioned second-chance employment in its advertising, aside from social media. But TRG, which won the account in 2021, felt it was such a core part of the brand that it deserved highlighting.
“The second-chance employment story is such a powerful, authentic message that’s part of Dave’s Killer Bread’s origin story and, more importantly, something they live and breathe every single day,” Ron Henderson, group creative director at TRG, told Ad Age. “To TRG and our Dave’s Killer Bread client, using the actual people whose stories were being told made the videos all the more powerful.”
Unlike a typical casting process, DKB chose the three partners it felt would best represent the story the brand wanted to tell.
“On shoot day, the authenticity and believability we had hoped for came shining through in a big way,” said Henderson. “We credit much of this to the fact that all three of these people weren’t just willing to share their stories—they were genuinely excited and grateful to be chosen and to let the world know how second-chance employment has affected their lives so profoundly.”
The Dave’s Killer Bread Foundation (DKBF) was founded in 2015 to advocate for the cause. “At Dave’s Killer Bread, we believe in second-chance employment—hiring the best person for the job, regardless of criminal history,” the brand says. “We have witnessed its transformative power, and that giving someone who is ready to change their life a chance—a second chance—gives people an opportunity not only to make a living, but to make a life.”
“For us, honesty and trust were the driving forces behind every decision,” said Terence Reynolds, executive creative director at TRG. “People were trusting us with these intensely personal and intimate parts of their lives. The client was trusting us to deliver these stories in a way that preserves the precious respect and dignity they’ve so fiercely protected. This mission is a labor of love deeply embedded in their culture.”