Brands And The #NationalSchoolWalkout: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week

Nike’s ode to Barcelona, a Japanese food brand gets creative with life expectancy, and A24 scares the living s#!t out of Barry Jenkins.

Brands And The #NationalSchoolWalkout: The Top 5 Ads Of The Week
[Photos: Flicker users Gage Skidmore; Jeffrey Bary]

On Wednesday morning, thousands of American school kids got up from their desks and walked out of school to protest a lack of gun control regulations and support the students of Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida. Kids in Los Angeles, New York, Denver, and everywhere in between took part, and the coordinated effort got plenty of media attention. It also got plenty of brand attention, both intentional and otherwise. Kids weren’t shy about calling out brands that continue to stand by their support for the NRA, while other brands decided to stand with the students. Which would you rather buy from or work for? Onwards!


Nickelodeon “#NationalSchoolWalkout”

What: On Wednesday morning, from 10 a.m. to 10:17 a.m. Nickelodeon went off the air to honor the 17 students and faculty members killed last month in Parkland, Florida.

Who: Nickelodeon

Why we care: A conscious decision by a company to take a stand on a particular issue is always fraught with risk, but the kids network is betting it’s on the right side of history by supporting its audience.

DCX Growth Accelerator “Branded Bulletproof Vest”

What: A bulletproof vest worn by students during #NationalSchoolWalkOut Day that highlights brands with ties to the NRA.


Who: DCX Growth Accelerator

Why we care: What, you thought this was going away? It may have faded, but the raising awareness and shaming of brands that continue to maintain ties with the NRA lives on. FedEx still gives discounts to the organization, Wells Fargo is an NRA financier, and Bass Pro Shops haven’t followed in Dick’s Sporting Goods footsteps to increase its retail regulations on guns. Meanwhile, YouTube, Apple, Google, and Roku get called out for hosting NRA TV content. The students wearing the vest were featured on CNN’s coverage of the walk outs.

Nike “The Ball Makes Us More”

What: Another cool ode to soccer from Nike, this time illustrating the special relationship between FC Barcelona and its home city.

Who: Nike, Wieden+Kennedy Amsterdam

Why we care: Directed by Oscar-winning cinematographer Wally Pfister (Inception), the spot features all the elements you might expect–star players, overly dramatic voiceover, an emotional connection between the pros and everyday fans. But it also manages to elevate the formula with its artful grid format, yet still maintain the magic Nike’s managed to bring to its soccer ads over the years.

Glico “71.8-Second Life”

What: A new ad from Japanese food brand Glico that features 72 actors playing the same role.


Who: Glico

Why we care: Global life expectancy has gone up from 31 to 71.8 years over the last century, according to the World Bank, so Glico hired 72 actors to illustrate how much more life has to offer these days. It transforms an interesting piece of data into a charming, stop-motion spot that’s far from ordinary.

A24 “Hereditary”

What: The movie company surprised SXSW viewers and reviewers who saw a screening of Ari Aster’s upcoming horror movie Hereditary by sending creepy little dolls to their doorsteps the next morning.

Who: A24

Why we care: Here we have a borderline stalker-y piece of guerrilla marketing that could’ve gone bad in the wrong hands (Never forget, Toyota), but instead turned people like Oscar-winning director Barry Jenkins and reviewer Eric Vespe into unofficial, very enthusiastic spokespeople.

About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity. He lives in Toronto.