A Copywriter's Experience Inspired BBDO's New PSA About Stuttering

For Aaron Marshall, the message is personal

When Aaron Marshall was first hired as a junior copywriter at BBDO New York, agency chairman and chief creative officer David Lubars asked about his interests. Marshall mentioned he has a stutter and that it has a big impact on his life and changes the way he approaches advertising.

Launching today is BBDO's new pro-bono PSA for the Stuttering Association for the Young (SAY) that illustrates what it feels like for young people who stutter to engage in everyday conversations. The concept arose from Marshall's personal experience of growing up with a stutter and often ordering food he didn't want at restaurants, in an effort to avoid stuttering.

SAY | In the Spotlight

"In the Spotlight" features young people who have a stutter asking typical questions like "Do you have this in a size 8.5?" or "Are you hiring?" but for someone with a stutter, these one-on-one conversations feel as overwhelming as public speaking in a crowded auditorium or a high school gym.

When one teen inquires about a job, her crowded auditorium converts to her local coffee shop, where she picks up an application to fill out.

"Most of the world hates public speaking," says Marshall. "For people with a stutter, every sentence is the same pressure, build-up. It's important for people to see; it's an emotional way to look at it."

"In the Spotlight" debuted today during the third hour of NBC's Today show and will run on all SAY and BBDO channels.

Marshall wants the PSA to empower young kids to embrace their voice and for people to have empathy, and be more patient when speaking with someone who has a stutter.

"People with stutters are usually represented in negative ways; we're not represented in the right way," he says. "It's time for society to see us for who we are. There's a big difference in saying 'Aaron is a stutterer' vs 'Aaron is a person who has a stutter.' Having a stutter may be one part of you but it doesn't define you."


"In The Spotlight" Campaign
SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young

SAY: The Stuttering Association for the Young: 
Noah Cornman, Executive Director
Travis Robertson, VP of Programming
Kristina Ferlich, Director of Marketing
Isabella Love, SAY member
Kumari Birusingh, SAY member
Kaylee Kolka, SAY member
Gavin Pelletier, SAY member

Creative Agency: BBDO, New York
Chief Creative Officer, Worldwide: David Lubars
VP Creative Director: Lance Vining
VP Creative Director: Gary Toit
Copywriter: Aaron Marshall
Producer: Whitney Husnik
Music Producer: Julia Millison
Director of Business Development: Olivia Dames
EVP Senior Director: Sascha Uzzell
Strategy Director: Dexter Blumenthal
Strategist: Isabel Rendon 
Influencer Lead: Lucy Bennett 
Director of Digital Analytics: Chris Daniele
Business Manager: Grace Kelley 

PR Agency: Dini von Mueffling Communications
Founder & CEO: Dini von Mueffling
Publicist: Brittany Gbur
Senior Account Executive: Rajasri Narasimhan
Ryan Cullum, Intern
Kate Riccardelli, Intern
Miranda Fayne, Intern

Production Company: Hungry Man 
Director: Alex Gorosh
Producer: Sherra Fermino
Executive Producers: Caleb Dewart, Mino Jarjoura, Dan Duffy, Meredith Bergman
Director of Photography: Eric Ulbrich
Production Designer: Paul McConnell

VFX & Color: The Mill
Managing Director: Anastasia Von Rahl
Senior Producer: Warwick Hewett
Production Coordinator: Mike Cimino
Creative Director & Shoot Supervisor: John Leonti
2D Lead Artist: Chris "Badger" Knight
3D Lead Artist: Freddy Parra
2D Artist: Stephen Paragone
3D Artist: Lalida Karnjanasirirat, Amit Patil, C Dinesh Reddy, Anthony Ignatius Dsouza
Production Support: Vinamra Ramniranjan Bhartia, Utkarsha Chittaranjan Wairkar
Colourist: Paul Yacono
Senior Colour Producer: Denise Brown
Production Coordinator, Colour: Lindsey Orlando
Colour Assists: Gemma Parr, Logan Highlen

Post Production: Lime Studios
Audio Mixer: Zac Fisher 
Audio Assistant: Michael Baran  
Senior Producer: Kayla Phunnglan 
Executive Producer: Susie Boyajan

Music by Walker
Associate Producer: Jendayi Bonds 
Composer: Chris Keyes

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