Ad of the Day: New York City Is Dying in Y&R’s Gorgeous Organ Donor PSA

Oscar winner's brilliant animation

The iconic clock from Grand Central Terminal symbolizes the heart of New York City in this impressive 90-second animated film from Y&R, part of its campaign backing the New York Organ Donor Network.

There's darkness all around, and time is running out for Gotham as the clock struggles to keep ticking. Brick facades crumble. Cabs crawl past pedestrians who shuffle dejectedly through the streets. Even the Statue of Liberty slumps her shoulders. But ultimately, folks collect bits and pieces of NYC—subway signs, manhole covers, fire hydrants—to build a fantastical new machine (with a familiar design) that just might save the day.

The tagline pays off the plot, and viewers are directed to for more.

"Next-to-last place—we are ranked 49th in terms of the percentage of state residents registered as organ donors—is not good enough for New York," Y&R executive creative director Glen Jacobs tells Adweek. "We need to move the needle, so organ donors can save lives. Period."

Every 15 hours, another New Yorker dies while waiting for a donated organ, and only 23 percent of the local population has registered to give. "We won't rest until we unlock the key to get this turned around," Jacobs says.

"It took several months to do the proper research and come up with the right approach," he adds. "But once we settled on the final direction, everything proceeded very quickly. It was really important for us to find the right caliber of talent to bring this idea to life."

Laurent Witz, an Oscar winner for last year's animated short Mr. Hublot, directed the film, which strikes the perfect tone of eerie melancholy before giving way to brightness and hope. The 3-D animation style is a good choice, adding a sense of lifelike urgency to every frame. (The campaign also includes the lovely poster below, which will run in the subway.)

"The biggest hurdle for the cause continues to be how many myths surround organ donation," says Jacobs. "So many people simply do not have the facts needed to make an informed decision." The film's visual élan and the Donor Network's treasure trove of information should encourage folks on the fence to give serious thought to registration. That would be a heartening development.

"If this campaign helps raise awareness for the cause, that's great," Jacobs says. "But we have a long way to go. So, our aim is to keep finding bigger and better ways to get the message out."


Client: New York Organ Donor Network

Agency: Y&R, New York

Chief Creative Officer: Jim Elliott

Executive Creative Director: Glen Jacobs

Creative Directors: Josh Schildkraut, Miranda Dean

Executive Director of Content Production: Letitia Jacobs

Producers: Emma Starzacher, Sarah Haroldson

Account Management: Laurie Newsome, Tre Jordan

Business Manager: Adele Solomon

Production, Postproduction: Zeilt Productions

Director, Executive Producer, Director of Photography: Laurent Witz

Production Assistant: Joane Degive

Character Design: Jerome Gillet, Ghayth Chegaar

Composer: Francois Rousselot

Music: Macedonia Radio Symphonic Orchestra

@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.
Publish date: October 2, 2014 © 2020 Adweek, LLC. - All Rights Reserved and NOT FOR REPRINT