The YMCA aims to shift perceptions of its purpose with a gritty new campaign from Droga5, kicking off with two spots that focus on deprived American communities.
Both spots were shot in Baltimore by director Seb Edwards through Park Pictures, and feature casts of real people who live in the areas. "Places" was shot in West Baltimore, a neighborhood that suffers from extreme income inequality and is frequently in the news for its social unrest. It opens with shots of boarded up houses and dilapidated streets and a voiceover speaks of how those in the community only get attention through news headlies of tragedy and unrest. But finally, the spot homes in on the vibrancy of the community and shows how it can benefit from the YMCA's facilities.
"Idle Hands," was shot in Dundalk, a low-income suburb that lacks the third spaces and recreational activities that are vital for kids. The spot opens on its bleak streets, abandoned shopping malls, bored kids at home and gangs of roaming youths, but a voiceover goes on to explain how their "idle hands" can be put to good use, as we see the same young people taking part in science experiments at the Y.
According to the agency, the campaign's objective is to shift perceptions of the Y from a "gym and swim," to a relevant, impactful nonprofit, and to help inspire people to donate and fund the work it does.