Blog – We Happy Few

We Happy Few: Haworth Labs: Introducing Joy
Published on 27th July 2018 @shotscreative

This creepy-but-cool trailer for a dystopian video game questions whether we want a nice life – or a real life.

Set in a retrofuturistic 1960s England, We Happy Few sees players navigate the narratives of three citizens trying to escape from a lifetime of cheerful denial. The game trailer, created by Kickstand, is at first glance a typical ‘happy pills’ prescription ad – but towards the end we get a glimpse of the grim reality that lies beneath. Is that a dog, or…

The spot was directed by Wheeler Sparks through Lonely Standard.

Creative connections
Agency – Kickstand
Production- Lonely Standard
Creative Director – Matt Bull, Bo Bartlett
Director – Wheeler Sparks
Producer – Lisa Normand, Jeff Walker
Director of Photography – Bongani Mlambo
Editor – Wheeler Sparks

Addys 2018 – Gold, Silver, and Judges Choice

Gold | Film, Video, & Sound | Internet Commercial
Entrant: Kickstand
Client: Ted’s Brain Science Products
Title: My Name is Greg
Credits: Matt Bull, Creative Director, writer
Bo Bartlett, Creative Director, art director
Jeff Elmore, Charlie Uniform Tango, Executive
Lan Freeman, Director
Evan Linton, Editor
Nick Patronella, Music, mix
Artie Pena, Online/color/fx
Mark Fisher, Director of Photography
Jessi Hall, Vocals

Silver | Film, Video, & Sound | Internet Commercial
Entrant: Kickstand
Client: Baby Magic
Title: Dads Are Magic
Credits: Matt Bull, Creative Director/writer
Bo Bartlett, Creative Director/art director
Andrew Ryan Shepherd, Director/DP/Editor
Omar Milano, Location sounds mixer
Michael Leiato, First Assistant Camera
Geoff Ashcraft, Original score

Judges Choice | Film, Video, & Sound | Internet
Entrant: Kickstand
Client: Ted’s Brain Science Products
Title: My Name is Greg
Judge: Michael



Of all the reactions to the super bowl ads, the most interesting to me by far was the backlash to the Martin Luther King Jr Ram spot.

Putting my cards on the table: the backlash delighted me.

Brands do this kind of nonsense all the time, using altruism as window dressing for their wares. What’s curious to me is why audiences haven’t objected to all the other equally ham-fisted attempts at this same ploy as much as they did this one.

It’s certainly partly because of the particular heightened racial complexity of this moment in the NFL, so the audience’s dissonance detectors may well be more sensitive right now.

But I think it’s more than that. The more we advertisers use tired tools, the wiser the audience gets to them. Today’s audience is so much better at detecting disingenuousness than the audience of even a couple years ago. And man was this ad disingenuous.

brands do this kind of nonsense

The saddest part is that it would have taken two very minor changes to turn this ad from disingenuous to sincere.

First: lose the giant Ram grill beauty shot that mars the sentiment before the spot even gets going. That clichéd truck fording mud porn comes as such a damn disappointment in the middle of an historic sermon like this. You can feel the collective groan. If you want to make this kind of advertising work, your branding has to take a distant back seat to the message. Save it to the very end. Anything else is a huge fail.

Second: imagine Ram had ended the spot with a simple line like, “To further Dr. King’s legacy, Ram is donating 100 trucks this year to service organizations doing important work.”

There. Now Ram means it. Spot fixed.


Probably the world’s first Emmy in a stolen shopping cart. Although kindly alert us if you’re aware of a predecessor, and we’ll gladly take this down and put up a photo of Matt’s new Emmy in an abandoned elevator shaft instead. That’s actually Matt’s Emmy, for the record. He won it for this and this.

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