Over the last few years, we've seen our fair share of striking anti-gun violence PSAs, many of which featured right here in the halls of Top 5 headquarters. This week we have another addition to that pantheon, but unlike many of its predecessors, in the collaboration between artist Andrew Bird and Everytown for Gun Safety, there's no shock, no elaborate stunt, no ah-ha! moment, to hammer home a point. Instead they let the sad reality of what has become routine for children all across America—the lockdown drill—slowly sink in. The tactic almost leaves us as a viewer waiting, waiting for that bang, that shock, not knowing when it might come. Kind of like those kids in the lockdown drill. Onward!
What: A new video for Andrew Bird's song "Pulaski," that's also an anti-gun violence PSA.
Who: Everytown for Gun Safety, Andrew Bird
Why We Care: A beautiful take on a depressing subject, directed by Natalie Morales (Going the Distance, Girls), we see how a major issue being argued, debated, and lobbied on in government has seeped into the daily lives of schoolchildren.
What: A hardcore addition to Geico's "It's Not Surprising" campaign.
Who: Geico, The Martin Agency
Why We Care: The Martin Agency has been mining gold for Geico for a long, long time. Now, while this is no Unskippable Ad (unless of course you've ever heard OG: Original Gangster), here the brand takes the most obvious Ice T joke ever, and actually convinces the man himself to take a break from handling some of New York's most sensitive cases to pull it off. Not only that, but Ice T also gives a tutorial in the fine art of negotiation. Obviously the list of things I'd love to do with a time machine is long and detailed, but let's just go ahead and add, "Return to 1991 Lollapalooza and show all this to Body Count fans."
What: A furniture commercial that actually reflects a common complexity of modern life.
Who: Ikea, Åkestam Holst
Why We Care: Typically, advertising tends to lean toward the idealized version of our lives. The perfect hair, the perfect outfit, the perfect house, the perfect car, the perfect night out with the girls to drink Baileys on ice. Wait, what? Anyway, you get the idea. It's not every day a brand decides to link its message to, y'know, potentially the most emotionally scarring event of your life. But here, the Swedish retailer manages to do just that in a straightforward, even sweet way, without getting all sappy or preachy about it.
What: A lookbook for Kenzo’s fall/winter collection, that's also a surreal short film by Carrie Brownstein.
Who: Kenzo, Carrie Brownstein
Why We Care: As follow-ups go, this might have been the toughest of the year, seeing as Kenzo's last effort by Spike Jonze is perhaps the greatest fragrance ad of all-time. But Brownstein is obviously no artistic slouch, and here we get a short film that gets weird and fun in enough unexpected ways that, like Jonze's work for the brand, it stands as a compelling piece of entertainment on its own with or without the brand attached. The fact a brand is attached, just makes Kenzo's pursuit of creativity that much more authentic.
What: A new campaign from UGG that makes the unlikely pairing of Jeff Bridges and Tom Brady to illustrate the joys of sitting around and doing nothing in sheepskin slippers.
Who: Ugg, Camp + King
Why We Care: Wherever you stand on Tom Brady and Deflategate, you've got to admire the brand's ability to not only use, but to laugh at, the circumstances leading Brady to be on the couch instead of on the field. And since we know just about anything Bridges touches is gold, that's reason enough for us to care.