It's that time of year when parents may be thinking of signing up their kids for a summer camp, and a new Canadian spot for the YMCA emphasizes its role in supporting families by imagining a world where the Y doesn't exist.
The ad, created by Toronto production company Skin & Bones for the YMCA of Greater Toronto, plays out as two alternate scenarios. In the first, the mother of an immigrant family is busy preparing dinner waiting for her daughter to return from summer camp at the Y. Outside, it's a sunny day in suburbia, with her younger brother happily playing with a neighbor.
However, in the alternate universe, there's no Y, and the daughter has gone missing. It's dusk, the house is a mess and the neighborhood seems rougher and full of trouble. It ends with a police car drawing up at the house, filling the mother with a look of dread.
“A World Without Y” was conceived by director Edward Andrews of Skin & Bones and creative director Jonathan Guy, who were tasked with developing a concept that shows how the YMCA helps solve social problems in communities through providing support for everyone regardless of status or income. To place the viewer in the center of each reality, Andrews filmed the story as a continuous one-take. Actors repeated the same movements and dialog in each world.
“Filming it as a one-take was the only way to do it; we didn’t want to do a spot full of vignettes,” Guy says. “It allowed us to take you on a journey with our mother and feel everything she feels but also reveal how each of her two worlds are affected.”