BBDO's 'Back to School Essentials' for Sandy Hook Promise Wins Emmy for Best Commercial

Striking PSA resists normalizing school shootings

This year's back-to-school season has been anything but normal. But on Saturday, the Emmy Awards bestowed its highest honor for TV commercials on a back-to-school spot from last year—a PSA from BBDO New York and Sandy Hook Promise that powerfully urged viewers not to accept a new normal where school shootings in America become acceptable.

It was the second straight year that BBDO and Sandy Hook Promise were nominated for the Emmy. This time, they took it home:

Back-To-School Essentials | Sandy Hook Promise

"Back-to-School Essentials" was SHP's biggest campaign to date. It launched with a 360 integrated campaign including print, digital, radio, and out of home advertising. Like its predecessor spots—including the famous "Evan" commercial, which was viewed over 100 million times—"Back-to-School Essentials" reinforced that there are proven preventative solutions to school shootings, including SHP's Know the Signs programs. 

Those programs teach students and adults to recognize warning signs and threats that often precede an act of violence or self-harm, along with the steps to properly intervene and get help before violence occurs. SHP says 80 percent of school shooters tell someone of their plans prior to taking action—yet often, no interventions are made, as the signs were overlooked, misunderstood or not taken seriously. 

"We cannot accept school shootings as the new normal in our country," Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise—and mother of Dylan, who was killed in the Sandy Hook School shooting—said at the time of the spot's release. "Our goal with this PSA is to wake up parents to the horrible reality that our children endure. Gone are the days of viewing back-to-school as just a carefree time, when school violence has become so prevalent. However, if we come together to know the signs, this doesn't have to be the case. I hope that parents across the country will join me to make the promise to stop this epidemic."

"Back-to-School Essentials" was produced by Smuggler and director Henry Alex Rubin.

The other four commercials nominated for the Emmy this year were: Amazon's "Before Alexa" from Droga5 London; Apple AirPods "Bounce" by TBWA\Media Arts Lab; Jeep's "Groundhog Day" by Highdive Advertising; and Procter & Gamble's "The Look" by Saturday Morning.

BBDO and Sandy Hook Promise were nominated for the 2019 Emmy for their "Point of View" spot.


Creative Agency: BBDO, New York
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
Chief Creative Officer, New York: Greg Hahn
SVP Senior Creative Director: Peter Alsante
VP Creative Director: Bianca Guimaraes
Associate Creative Director / Copywriter: Jim Connolly
Associate Creative Director / Copywriter: Gary Toit
Associate Creative Director / Art Director: Lance Vining
Associate Creative Director: Marcus Johnston
Director of Integrated Production: David Rolfe
VP, Group Executive Producer: Alex Gianni
Associate Producer: Molly Ross
Music Producer: Julia Millison
Business Manager: Grace Kelly
Svp Senior Director: Lindsey Cash
Account Manager: Elizabeth Jacobs
Account Executive: Melissa Blache 
Planning Director: Ben Bass
Brand Strategist: Michael Schonfeld
VP, Director Of Data: Chris Daniele

Production Company: Smuggler
Executive Producer: Drew Santarsiero
Director: Henry Alex Rubin
Co-Founder: Patrick Milling -Smith
Co-Founder: Brian Carmody
Line Producer: Lead Allina
Director Of Photography: Autumn Durald Arkapaw

Editorial Company: No6 Edit
Managing Director: Corina Dennison
Senior Producer: Laura Molinaro
Editor: Jason Macdonald
Assistant Editor: Renn Cheale

Telecine Company: Company 3
Telecine Artist: Tim Masick
Producer: Alexandra Lubrano

Conform / VFX / Finish Company: No6 Edit
Conform Artist: Ed Skupeen
Flame Assist: Mark Reyes

Graphic Design Company: No6 Edit
Producer: Laura Molinaro
GFX: David Gerber

Music Company: JSM
CEO/CCO: Joel Simon
Executive Producer: Jeff Fiorello
Composer: Jason Krebs / Joel Simon
Producer: Norm Felker / Andrew Manning
Sound Designer: Nathan Kil

Mix & Record Company: Heard City
Engineer: Jeremy Siegel, Keith Reynaud, Evan Mangiamele, Elizabeth McClanahan
Managing Partner: Gloria Pitagosky
Executive Producer: Jackie James & Sasha Awn
Producer: Andi Lewis
Sound Designers: Evan Mangiamele, Jeremy Siegel, Keith Reynaud, 
Assistant Audio Engineers: Tom Morris, Seth Brogdon, Evan Anderson, Ronnie Stapleton

Media Agency: PHD Media
Bob Estrada, Client Business Lead
Nichole Verost, Associate Strategy Director
Gretchen Smith, Digital Performance Director
Alison Horowitz, Strategy Supervisor
Caren Axelrod, Associate Director, Social Media
Harry Keeshan, President, Video Investment
Seth Glosman, Managing Director, Integrated Investment
Paul Salman, Director, Video Investment
Amy Turner, Associate Director, Published Media
Amanda Knoll, Supervisor, Published Media
Grace Collins, US Director, Local Investment
Jeanne Boland, Group Director, Local Investment

PR Agency: Dini von Mueffling Communications
Dini von Mueffling, Founder & CEO
Stephanie Morris, Publicist
Janine Brady, Account Director

Tim Nudd
Tim Nudd was editor in chief of the Clio Awards and editor of Muse by Clio from 2018 to 2023.

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