Behind the Work in association withThe Immortal Awards

Your Shot: Deutsch’s Stories of Survival for ‘Me Too’

Advertising Agency
Los Angeles, USA
EVP, group account director Montse Barrena on telling the testimonies of Terry Crews, Emily Waters and Daniela Contreras in moving animated films

"We hear you. We see you. We believe you." These words are the basis of a series of animated films, created by Deutsch for the Me Too movement. The PSAs aim to rally survivors and supporters together in the fight to end sexual violence through testimonies from Terry Crews, Emily Waters, Daniela Contreras and an anonymous survivor. Produced by Psyop, Hornet, Elastic Studios and We Are Royale, the films launched at the 2019 Sundance Film Festival. 

LBB's Addison Capper spoke with Montse Barrena, EVP, group account director at Deutsch, to find out more. 

LBB> What kind of brief did you receive from Me Too for this campaign and what were your initial thoughts when you saw it? 

Montse> We invited Tarana [Burke, founder of the Me Too movement] to speak to our agency and share how she started the Me Too movement more than a decade ago. Her talk was inspirational to say the least – she shared a story about when a brave young survivor came to her and how she didn’t have the tools in place to help her. That began the movement – a grassroots organisation called Me Too. Today, the explosion of #metoo has changed the conversation and Tarana’s mission is to bring the message of #metoo to the world in a way that’s true to its original meaning. Giving survivors a voice and the tools they need to help them move forward.

That was our brief. We knew we wanted to help her in her journey.

LBB> The PSAs are very rooted in realism, but are brought to life through animation. Why did you decide on that approach?

Montse> The idea originally came from bringing to life the survivors’ stories through sound waves - which represented the breaking of their silence. From there, we thought about how those sound waves could best depict their stories; in their true, raw, most empathetic form. Their raw audio was the natural starting point. For each survivor, we asked the same series of questions to help us understand the journey they have been on and the message they would want to share with their fellow survivors to let them know that they are not alone.

LBB> How much direction did you give to Terry, Emily and Daniella with regards to their voiceover? Was it quite collaborative or more about allowing them to tell their stories? 

Montse> It was not our place to direct them. It was our place to give them a platform to have their voices heard. We simply interviewed them and let them tell their stories in their own, unique and authentic way. Not the details of the actual encounter, but how they felt when they found their voice and shared their stories, and how they arrived to where they are now.

LBB> There are the obvious, and terrible, reasons these three people feature in the campaign, but was there any particular reason that you decided on them to be the focal point? 

Montse> Sexual abuse is not an issue that only affects a particular gender, age group, ethnicity, or socio-economic group. It has the potential to touch all of us. The media has only covered a very specific group, mostly linked to the boardroom and the rich and famous. We want to make sure that the sum of the stories can ring true to everyone so we decided to share stories from survivors that haven’t been in the spotlight.

LBB> How was it for you, personally, to work on a campaign for the Me Too movement? 

Montse> It was an incredibly rewarding project and experience for me. I learned so much from Tarana, her team and from the survivors that gave us an invaluable gift when they shared their stories with us and the world. Through their voices I felt empathy - I learned, I understood. I now know that everyone copes with the aftermath of sexual assault in different ways. There’s no blueprint for survivors to follow. Everyone has a unique approach, and everyone has the right to choose their own journey. Our job is to support them – We see you. We hear you. We believe you.

LBB> Numerous animation companies worked on the films - how did you ensure that there was continuity running through each film, while allowing each company's individuality to shine through? 

Montse> Our partners were selected because not only were they generous in their commitment to the project, but because they are some of the most talented in the field of animation. Our creative lead on the project, Jorge Calleja, worked closely with each of the teams, to ensure that these films accurately reflected the personalities and stories of the survivors. Each of the animation companies did an incredible job of capturing that essence and bringing it to life. I would also add, in record time. Most of these films were completed in about a three week period, from beginning to end.

LBB> What are the main aims and ambitions of the campaign?

Montse> We aim to refocus the attention on the survivors who need help and support. Much of the focus of #MeToo has been re-directed to the scandals affecting the uncertain futures of the powerful perpetrators. We wanted the tone, style and focus of this work to shine a light on the more understanding and empathetic side of humanity and help every survivor know that this is their movement too.

LBB> What were the trickiest components when developing the campaign and how did you overcome them?

Montse> The survivors were extremely brave and generous to agree to share their personal stories with us, and eventually the world. We felt responsible for making sure we portrayed their stories accurately, and true to how they were shared with us. Our goal was that they’d be as proud of the films as we are. We hope we’ve achieved that.

Work from Deutsch LA
Cantina Chicken Menu
Taco Bell
Juju Wallet Reveal
Rob Wallet Reveal