During the Oscars ceremony on Sunday, some eyes will be on Hollywood to see how the industry comports itself in the post-Weinstein era (like, will Ryan Seacrest get snubbed?). Google's home products company Nest inserts itself into the conversation with a sweet ad about a dad who teaches his son to be respectful of women.
Created in partnership with Deutsch L.A., "Prom Night," opens in the doorway of a home where a young man, his date and her friend are about to head out for their big night. But as he turns toward the limo, an older male voice stops him, saying: "Steven, can I have a minute? I want to make sure you understand how special Sarah is, so treat her with respect, and don't assume being her date means anything more than that."
The voice, it's revealed, is coming from the Nest "Hello" doorbell, as the boy's father, at work, is speaking through his phone.
It's Nest's first Oscars appearance and promotes the new product, set to debut in the first quarter of this year and available for pre-order now. "The company's mission, from day one, has been to create a home that takes care of the people inside it, and the world around it," says Nest CMO Doug Sweeny. "There's this conversation happening between men and women, started by the #MeToo movement. We did not want to simply run a product-oriented ad. We wanted to insert Nest into the conversation authentically."
"Our north star, creatively, is this idea of how men can set an example, not just react to the world," says Xanthe Wells, the advertising vet who joined the company as its global creative director last year. "I think as a woman in the advertising business in general, it's really hit hard in the last few months, watching all of it. So this just felt right. We haven't really done work like this before."
The tone was especially important, she says: "We went preachy a couple times and it felt wrong. We didn't want it to be heavy-handed."
Deutsch conceived the idea and worked with Nest's creative team to refine the script. Matt Baron via AllDayEveryDay directed. The ad also reflects a more humanistic approach for the category. "Nest is an optimistic brand, and we wanted an optimistic message more concerned with bringing in good than keeping out the bad," says Deutsch North American Chief Creative Officer Pete Favat.