"We’re the children of the future, American through and through. But something happened to our country, and we’re kind of blaming you."
That’s the message delivered by a choir of kids in a new video that laments the state of these United States, points a finger at the generation in charge and urges adults to vote. The video was created as an independent project of Jeff Goodby and Rich Silverstein, founders of San Francisco- and Detroit-based agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners.
While there’s no mention of President Obama in the video, the lyrics of the song ("Imagine an America/Where strip mines are fun and free/Where gays can be fixed/And sick people just die/And oil fills the sea") have a clear message (Also, this text appears on the video’s micro site: "Re-electing President Obama is a momentous decision that will require every single voter. What would the children of the future say if we let them down this November?").
The project originated when representatives of "90 Days, 90 Reasons" (a project whereby creatives provide concrete reasons to re-elect Obama) approached Goodby and Silverstein about contributing one of those reasons. Goodby says the song "just appeared to him" and he recruited David Michel Ruddy to write the music. "The idea was to have kids from the future sing about a world that’s been defiled by us—by their parents," says Goodby, who, somewhat counterintuitively, is a registered, apparently lapsed, Republican. "It was meant to be accusatory in some way. Something to put it in the context of some day this decision will be an even bigger one than it appears today."
The team, which included Goodby as writer, Silverstein and Tim Green as art directors, Ruddy as composer and Todd Porter as producer along with others, recruited kids who belonged to local choirs to sing the tune and shot the video (directed by Green) in a studio in the agency. The video lives online at The Future Children Project.
Goodby, who has produced a number of self-driven projects over the last several years, acknowledges that the video won’t necessarily be a favorite of every client, but stresses that the video is not an official GSP joint, and also that the agency has actively encouraged its creatives to produce their own non-ad ideas, regardless of bent.
And, alas, at least one person close to Goodby was dismayed by the effort: "My brother wrote to me and said he was appalled," says Goodby.