WhatsApp's New Ad Beautifully Captures Our Intimacy and Solitude

If only we could enjoy both without the digital pinging

For Facebook property WhatsApp, AlmapBBDO gives us "Rays of Sunshine," a tribute to how loved ones stay connected despite confinement and social distancing guidelines.

The ad focuses on the relationship between mothers and daughters. While we didn't feel much of that specifically, it does feel feminine and intimate. Stink's Fridman Sisters, who directed it, shot their own mother at home; the "daughter" is played by the wife of photography director Pierre de Kerchove.

The work was shot and produced totally remotely, with just two locations and the people, wardrobe and spaces available on-hand while confined. And it was entirely "carried out via WhatsApp," though we're not entirely sure what that means. What's most impressive is how lo-fi it doesn't feel. We're a far cry now from ads composed mostly of Zoom screens! 

WhatsApp - Rays of Sunshine (English Version)

"This is not only a script based on a true story. It's a script that sprang out of a premise: what we could film these days without resembling an amateur production", says AlmapBBDO's creative director Pedro Corbett. 

This twilight between confinement, deconfinement (a word that didn't even exist before 2020) and possible reconfinement is yielding a fascinating new crop of ads that will serve as time capsules. They are the fruit of pared-down production possibilities—doesn't hurt to save some money agency-side—but also something we read repeatedly in the #WFH Diaries: serious introspection about the way we live, what we need, and how we feel about ourselves, our lives and our bodies. A lot of us are sleeping without alarm clocks for the first time as adults, and we are also dreaming more.

We have changed. Maybe it's temporary. But the frantic pace that once gripped most of the Western world and creative industry has gone slack, bleeding into and out of other commitments and parts of the day.

The result is that some of the ads we've seen lately—like Intermarché's from last week—feel like they're coming from deeper, quieter places.

That's the case here. What we see is solitude, languidness and the casual pursuit of sunshine as the day matures, shards of light moving around spaces we now know better than we ever meant to. It is punctuated by the sounds of photos and messages being sent and received via WhatsApp, which is annoying, but the least intrusive it can possibly be, given the circumstances.

All of life now is interrupted by these electric pokes, and that isn't going away. What's more, it expresses a plain truth about modern relations in confinement: That shot of just-painted nails, or a half-finished puzzle, is the closest some of us are gonna get to a hug for a long while. 

The use of "What a Difference a Day Makes," plugged into the piece by Punch Audio, emphasizes that feeling of wading through time, a different animal now that the one we knew before. (As Downton Abbey's Dowager Countess once said, "What is a weekend?")

Again, all this could have a lot to do with how much less we have to work with now. But if these are the results, it doesn't seem like a bad thing.

"We focused on stories of people alone at their homes and that didn't call for much elaborate producing, only relying on what was already there to make the movie as realistic as possible," Corbett goes on. "Although the production budget was not big, the quality has been the best possible. It is surprising how the hardest times can bring out the best solutions."

"Rays of Sunshine" is part of a larger campaign titled "It's Between You," and will first air in Brazil. Check out the making-of below, which goes into a bit more detail about how little was required to make this.

WhatsApp - Making of Rays of Sunshine

Agency: AlmapBBDO
Client: WhatsApp
CCO: Luiz Sanches
Creative Director: Pedro Corbett
Creative: Pedro Corbett, Firulo, Erick Mendonça, Juliana Utsch
Production: Vera Jacinto, Diego Villas Bôas, Aline Silva
Account: Fernanda Tedde, Tatiana Vidonscky, Marcelo Porto, Eleonora Iazigi
Planning: Sergio Katz, Beatriz Scheuer, Luciana Shinoda.
Media: Fabio Urbanas, Patricia Rosa, Gustavo Lopes, Daiane Ferreira
Production Company: Stink Films
Director: Irmãs Fridman (The Fridman Sisters)
Photo: Pierre de Kerchove, Pedro Tejada
Sound production: Áudio
Client Approval: Maz Sharafi, Eshan Ponnadurai, Taciana Lopes, Bosco Zubiaga-Delclaux, Rodrigo Moran, Eric Rottenberg, Andre Felix, Felipe Chaves, Renata de Carvalho Costa, Ligia Mattos, Andre Gramorelli, Fatima Saliu

Angela Natividad
Angela Natividad is the European markets editor at Muse by Clio. She also writes about gaming and fashion, and whatever else she's interested in, really. She's based in Paris and North Italy, so if you're local, say hi. She might eat all your food.

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