Jennifer is a single mom and breast cancer survivor from New Jersey with a never-ending to-do list and little time to simply relax. Ryan is a Washington, D.C.-based millennial who holds down multiple jobs, including a gig as road manager for a boy band, and suffers anxiety attacks from all the pressure. Both are real people used as case studies In “HumanKinda,” a short film created by Mullen Lowe US for JetBlue on our modern “busyness” epidemic.
“What started as a brief to showcase JetBlue’s mission to inspire humanity turned into an opportunity to insert ourselves into a cultural conversation by highlighting the phenomenon of busyness that is affecting our everyday lives,” says Tim Vaccarino, Mullen Lowe US executive creative director.
We are all awfully busy these days, aren’t we? Chances are you’ve replied, “I’m so busy!” when someone has asked, “How are you?”
“People are wearing busyness as a badge of honor, but we view it as more of a cultural shift that is impeding all of our lives,” says Jamie Perry, vice president of brand and product at JetBlue. “Our simple goal is to get people to pause for a moment, reflect on their own level of busyness, and acknowledge how it’s impeding their humanity.”
Directed by Bianca Giaever, HumanKinda takes a humorous approach to the subject, sending Veep star and comedian Sam Richardson out onto the streets of New York City where he finds people who are mostly too busy to stop to talk to him about being busy. Though he does get one guy to chat, and convinces him to accept the gift of a spur-of-the-moment trip to Puerto Rico.
Richardson then spends time with his two test subjects—Jennifer and Ryan—to find out why they’re so busy, and introduces them to people who encourage them not be so manic about doing it all and being available 24/7. While Jennifer learns breathing techniques from Dr. Belisa Vranich, a clinical psychologist/breathing expert, and flies to Florida to hang out with a bunch of fun retired ladies, Ryan spends time staring at ducks and sitting in traffic with James Ward, founder of the Boring Conference. He also hears about the value of ditching his smartphone from Arvind Dilawar, a man who tossed his into New York City’s East River and lived without one for a year and a half.
After giving his subjects some time to take in all that they have learned, Richardson meets up with them again to see if they are still running at full speed on the busy treadmill, or if they’ve hopped off.
Summing up the message of the film: It’s really okay not to be busy all the time. “It’s about inspiring both our customers and communities to take a break from their hectic schedules and ask themselves: Are we becoming HumanKinda?” Perry says. To drive that conversation, the HumanKinda-themed Tumblr includes content tied into the concept, including memes, GIFs, and a quiz that tests one’s level of busyness.