YMCA dives back into the community with new campaign from Droga5

NY-based Droga5 helped Chicago-based YMCA launch its first nationwide advertising campaign in history

I love the Y.

When I used to live in Barrington IL, most mornings — except the god-awful ones that started at 80 below — began with a 5:30 AM trip to the YMCA, which was right down the street from my house.

My daughter Max, was on the Y’s gymnastics team all through elementary and middle school. Chloe took a brief stint in karate there. Both girls went to camp.

We were a Y family. A part of their community. So imagine how pleased I was to stumble across this new spot from Droga5 for, you guessed it, The YMCA.

The Chicago-based not-for-profit organization isn’t turning its back on the fact these are polarizing times in America. And we are all the better for it.

Droga5 for the YMCA

Last year, the Chicago-based not-for-profit launched its first nationwide advertising campaign in history, with the slogan “For a better us.” The campaign was designed to raise awareness about the Y’s work as one of the most impactful and long-standing charitable organizations in the country.

For the second phase of the campaign, Droga5 decided to probe just how important “us” really is, which is so important during these polarizing, angry times.

This new anthem film takes viewers on a journey that explores what the idea of “Us” means in America, the ways in which our bonds are currently eroding, and how the Y can help make them whole again with safe places, community outreach, mentorship, volunteerism and more. Watch the 90-second version below:

“Us” is based on a key insight about the things people across the country are experiencing, from anxiety to social isolation, to a lack of empathy,” said Valerie Barker Waller, Senior Vice President and Chief Marketing Officer, Y-USA. “We want the country to know that, among the daily struggles, the Y is there—to bring people together, to help find common ground and to address pressing social issues that so many communities are facing.”

The campaign includes several radio spots, digital assets and social media content, all which feature kids, adults and families who are members of the Y. These assets will run across several radio and digital channels as well as a variety of social media platforms, including Facebook, Twitter and Instagram.

To support the campaign, the Y is encouraging members to meet someone new, learn about who they are, where they have come from, and showcase the diversity and positivity of Y members.

On September 28th, Y members were asked to take a #SelfieWithSomeoneNew, take a photo with someone they’ve just met at the Y, use the hashtag to post on their social channels, including Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram. The goal is to have Y members share each of your stories and why it’s important to engage with fellow members of your community and what it means to come together at the Y.

What I love most about this uplifting spot, directed by Malik Vitthal, is that how genuine it feels. The cinematography is both beautiful and gritty, putting the viewer in some intense situations.

The idea that Americans need to find common ground to the many issues tearing cities and towns apart is profound and just true. And this campaign makes the Y bigger than just a gym. It positions it as a haven for the community. All in the community. And that’s why it’s RAW for this week.

Agency: Droga5
   NY Creative Chairman: David Droga
   Chief Creative Officer: Ted Royer
   Executive Creative Director: Kevin Brady
   Group Creative Director: Casey Rand
   Group Creative Director: Karen Short
   Copywriter: Gabe Sherman
   Art Director: Gage Young Jr
   Copywriter: Patrick Newman Jr
   Art Director: Sonja Johnson Jr
   Copywriter: James Gross Jr
   Art Director: Gianna D’Amico
   Chief Creation Officer: Sally-Ann Dale
   Co-Directors of Film Production: Jesse Brihn, Bryan Litman
   Producer, Film: Gabija Blake
   Associate Producer, Film: Tony Xie
   Music Supervisor: Mike Ladman
   Director of Business Affairs: Jocelyn Howard
   Integrated Business Affairs Manager: Keith Marman
   Associate Director of Interactive: Justin Durazzo
   Executive Producer, Interactive: Tasha Cronin
   Executive Producer, Experiential: Bo Djogo
   Producer, Interactive: Aaron Matys
   Director of Art Production: Cliff Lewis
   Art Producer: Nichole Katsikas
   Global Chief Strategy Officer: Jonny Bauer
   Co-Head of Strategy: Colm Murphy
   Strategy Director: Jennifer Lange
   Head of Communications Strategy: Colleen Leddy
   Senior Communications Strategist: Hillary Fink
   Communications Strategist: Mark Longacre
   Chief Intelligence Officer: Amy Avery
   Senior Data Strategist: Brad Mumbrue
   Junior Data Strategist: Alexandra Grant
   Head of Account Management: Dan Gonda
   Account Director: Amanda Chandler
   Account Manager: Susannah Wherry
   Project Manager: Meredith Robinson

Client: The Y
   SVP, Chief Marketing Officer: Valerie Waller
   Creative Director: Wendy Currie
   Marketing Director: Joi Freeman
   Graphic Designer: Yoshiki Araya
   Video and Multimedia Producer: Jeff Saunders
   Communications Manager: Dorothy Mora

Production Company: Corner Shop
   Director: Malik Vitthal
   DOP: Ashley Connor
   Executive Producer: Anna Hashmi
   Producer: Jennifer Duffy
   Editorial Work Editorial Editor: Adam Robinson
   Assistant Editor: Theo Mercado
   Executive Producer: Erica Thompson
   Producer: Sari Resnick

Post Production: Blacksmith
   Executive Producer: Charlotte Arnold
   Producer: Alexa Mauro Lead
   2D Artist: Daniel Morris
   2D Artist: Steve Koenig
   2D Artist: Margolit Steiner
   2D Artist: Jay Lee

Color: Company3
   Colorist: Tom Poole
   Producer: Alexandra Lubrano

Music Composition: Minbal
   Composer: Benjamin Balcom

Sound: Sonic Union
   Mixer: Michael Marinelli
   Radio Mix: Paul Weiss
   Producer: Patrick Sullivan, Justine Cortale

Photographer: Landon Speers

Production Company: Urban NYC

Have a spot or campaign that you think is RAW? Email Colin at colin@reelchicago.wpengine.com.