Instagram, and Neil Gaiman, Urge 2022 Graduates to 'Make Good Art'

Featuring parts of the author's commencement speech from 2012

Before social media existed, college grads had Baz Luhrmann's anthem, "Everybody's Free To Wear Sunscreen," to collect life advice. Some of it's dated, but most of the tidbits still apply.

"Don't waste your time on jealousy
Sometimes you're ahead, sometimes you're behind
The race is long and in the end, it's only with yourself
Remember compliments you receive, forget the insults
If you succeed in doing this, tell me how
Keep your old love letters, throw away your old bank statements."

In a similar vein, Instagram is targeting recent college graduates with a poetic new ad based around the concept that content creation can be the most worthy response to life's challenges—and even be a bona fide career choice. Explaining that to your parents falls completely on you.

"Make Good Art" is a 60-second reel made of user-generated content set to an excerpt of a commencement speech author Neil Gaiman gave in 2012 at the University of the Arts.

Instagram | Make Good Art

"We had been working on a campaign to highlight certain tools and functions of the platform to help creators grow," say Jeph Burton and Hunter Hampton, group creative directors of Johannes Leonardo. "During the edit of those pieces, we assembled this and shared it with Instagram's Creative X team. All of us became so passionate about it, we knew we had to get it out into the world."

"Sometimes, life is hard," begins Gaiman's speech. "Things go wrong—in life and in love and in business and in friendship and in health and in all the other ways that life can go wrong."

Video clips include a dog refusing to walk, whipped cream sprayed directly into someone's mouth, a guy running inside a life-sized hamster wheel, pottery gone wrong, a kid sulking on an amusement park ride and fashionable dogs.

The reel closes with the word "art" created from video stills, happy graduates and the reminder "Yours to Make." The video will run on Instagram, Facebook and Twitter.

"For as long as most of us can remember, hopeful graduates aspired to the safe and secure jobs we all knew—accountants, lawyers, doctors, astronauts, heck, even marketers—with creativity being relegated to a hobby or the hopeful province of only a chosen few," the pair tell Muse. "But in 2022, for the first time ever, 'creator' entered the job market—a career path 54 percent of teens said they wish they could take. And despite the power of Gaiman's message, you never feel heavy with responsibility after listening to it. It's light. It makes you realize it's you, and you alone, who can 'do what you do best.' It reminds us that creativity is often a cathartic exercise against whatever it is we're facing."

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