Work Of The Week: Meaningful story told with patience in 'Birders' from AXA

Work Of The Week: Meaningful story told with patience in 'Birders' from AXA

Everyone talks about storytelling. Well, this is it.

In this new feature, I'm sharing with you a campaign that will be running in Switzerland and Ireland, by an Australian director, created by French agency Publicis Conseil featuring British actors—an eclectic mix that worked a treat.

It's for insurance company AXA and I have chosen it as the Work Of The Week as it caught me by surprise—I rarely remain engaged with an ad nearly four minutes long so it must be good!

Without sounding too cliché, it's a beautifully thought out, detailed story, told well and with the patience it required. 

The link with AXA only appears at the end but the message makes sense, it's not a huge leap. In the end, when grief strikes, it does make us realise what is truly important.

So, here is the story.

A mother drops off her daughter to the grandfather as her nanny is sick. It's clear that this is an inconvenience to him but he has no choice. The girl looks at him, curious and waiting for his response. He acts with deference but nonetheless, he grandfather looks after her. It's clear that his heart isn't in it. 

We realise that the grandfather has recently lost his wife as we see the girl look around the house at the various family photos; one of her grandmother with a book on birds, and another of her mother as a child looking through a telescope, also spotting birds. The grandfather in the background. 

The granddaughter returns the next day, seemingly at her own request, and she immediately strikes up a conversation about birds. The grandfather continues to be distant, but gradually, over time we see him soften.

The wonderfully scripted granddaughter's chatter gently brings him back to life. She sounds like all the other girls her age I know—chatting, telling stories, spreading joy and silliness without a care in the world.

I won't give away the ending, just watch, but it's heart warming and feels complete. The way the relationship blooms feels real; possible and guaranteed to draw an audience in. No fireworks here, but a beautifully conceived short film that makes sense told by AXA. It's not a new concept, far from it, it's been done many times, but this one kept me interested for nearly four minutes so it must have something a bit special.

So, this was the first Work Of The Week! Hope you enjoyed it. I'll be back every week to share another piece of creative work worth talking about.

The ad was directed by Australian director Sean Meehan via Superette, and it will be running in Switzerland and Ireland. The music is an original composition by British composer/orchestrator Sam Thompson ("Sex Education," "Rocketman"), in collaboration with Christophe Caurret at Prodigous.

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