WhatsApp finds hope in tragedy in its first-ever brand campaign

Short film from Almap BBDO based on Brazil's Carnival celebrations kicks off global push

Published On
Feb 19, 2020

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Unlike the cheery, celebratory messages of unity adopted by many social platforms, WhatsApp, the world’s largest messaging app, kicks off its first brand campaign with a grim scenario. 

A longform film centers on a cataclysmic event ahead of Brazil’s annual Carnival. The yearly pre-Lent fete that winds its way through the country comprises troops of dancers and massive floats created by local samba schools, who compete each year to put on the best show. The WhatsApp film sees tragedy befall one of the big schools, whose Carnival decorations and sculptures are destroyed in a massive warehouse fire. But thanks to WhatsApp, we see how the school’s rivals ultimately become its supporters in the face of disaster. 

The film, created out of Almap BBDO and directed by Ian Ruschel via Iconoclast, was based on real-life stories, including a fire last year at Sao Paulo samba school Independente Tricolor, which was able to rebuild with the help of donations and help from competitor schools. 

The campaign, titled “It’s between you,” will continue around the world with other stories based on local events and culture. Some of the upcoming films will be co-productions with other BBDO agencies including the Mexico, Berlin, India and San Francisco offices. 

Earlier this month, WhatsApp, which was acquired by Facebook six years ago for $19 billion, announced that it hit the 2 billion-user mark—500 million more than it had just two years ago.