How Disconnected Are We From Our Loved Ones? This Poignant Ad Does the Math

Leo Burnett's moving holiday campaign for Ruavieja

"Because we don't know when we will die, we get to think of life as an inexhaustible well. Yet everything happens only a certain number of times, and a very small number really. How many more times will you remember a certain afternoon of your childhood, some afternoon that is so deeply a part of your being that you can't even conceive of your life without it? Perhaps four or five times more, perhaps not even that. How many more times will you watch the full moon rise? Perhaps twenty. And yet it all seems limitless." 

Those words are from Paul Bowles' 1949 novel The Sheltering Sky. And it's just that existential insight—given a modern spin—that informs Leo Burnett Madrid's touching holiday campaign for Ruavieja, the Pernod Ricard liquor brand. 

A four-minute film sets up a social experiment in which good friends are brought together, and eventually asked: How much more time do they really have to spend together? And how does it compare to the screen time they're usually embracing instead? 

The answers are sobering. Indeed, they bring more than one participant to tears. 

Ruavieja | We Have to See More of Each Other

The film has gone viral in Spain, and for good reason. It approaches a familiar problem—our increasing alienation from each other, even those closest to us, thanks to technology—and casts it in a new light. It's data driven yet emotional. And it makes us consider the value of life by gently pushing us to consider its opposite—a tactic that's rare at Christmastime (though often remarkably effective when it's done well). 

The goal, says the brand, is to nudge people into actually seeing each other more—to change behavior, not just to entertain for a few minutes at the holidays. 

"The best ideas are those capable of changing behaviors and sometimes even the way we live," says Leo Burnett Madrid creative director Juan García-Escudero. "If we can get people to do all they possibly can to see more of each other, we will have done something worthwhile." 

"At Ruavieja, we firmly believe that consumers want brands to talk to them about things that really matter, not only about products," adds brand manager Kerman Romeo. "Which is why we've launched this campaign, because we're convinced that a society where people care about how they bond with others is a better place to live in." 

Viewers can calculate how much time they have left to spend with loved ones via an online tool at

Agency: Leo Burnett
Advertiser: Pernod Ricard
Product: Ruavieja.
Sector: Liqueurs
Client contact: Maria Prados, Kerman Romeo, Miguel Angel Pascual and Telmo Pagalday
General Creative Director: Juan García-Escudero
Creative Directors: Gaston Guetmonovitch and Daniel Sáenz
Art Director: Juan Frías
Account Manager: Laura Gutierrez
Account Supervisor: Clara Hernangómez
Strategic Planning: Iñigo Rivera
Advanced Analytics: Publicis Media
Agency Producer: Victor Cruz
Production company: Tesauro
Director: Felix Fernandez de Castro
Executive Producer: Pancho Alted
Producer: Susana Boix
Recording studio: Serena
Media agency: Mediacom

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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