BA Dreamin' - "Leading From Behind"

"Work like this reminds me why I love what I do, helping creative ideas come to life!"

Ryan Reynolds has been straightforward with how he feels about ads; he absolutely loves making them. He and the team at MNTN/Maximum Effort have been using that passion to consistently release entertaining and effective creative into the advertising-ether for a handful of brands, including Mint Mobile, Aviation Gin, Peloton, Match.com, and 1Password to name a few.


One piece of recent work that really stood out to me was for their partnership with LEAD FROM BEHIND and The Colorectal Cancer Alliance, which highlighted the importance of getting regular preventative colonoscopy screenings beginning at 45 years of age. This longer-form piece clocks in at just under seven minutes and combines comedy, competition, and colonoscopies to show how incredibly important preventative testing and care are.

The spot begins with Ryan and Rob McElhenney explaining a bet they had made a year prior as new Co-Chairmen of the Welsh Football Club, Wrexham AFC. With a slight grin, Rob proceeds to explain that the bet was that he could not learn to speak Welsh…all while speaking what appears to be fluent Welsh. So what were the stakes of the wager? If he lost, Ryan would need to get his first colonoscopy, on camera, and then post it for all of the internet to see.


We then follow Ryan on his journey through the day of the procedure, with the help of the physician in charge, Dr. Lapook. As someone who had very limited knowledge of the nitty-gritty details of the “why” and “what” of the procedure, it was incredibly helpful to have such a detailed and animated guide to what was going on. In the next clip, Rob also ends up having the procedure done, extending the comedic relief to “who can have the better colonoscopy.”


The crazy part? Both procedures resulted in the removal of problematic tissue which, if left untreated, could have ended with one of the men developing Colorectal Cancer. For context on the numbers behind the terrible disease, the American Cancer Society states that “approximately 4.4% of men (1 in 23) and 4.1% of women (1 in 25) will be diagnosed with CRC in their lifetime.” The ACS also shows in their research that a major factor of the decline in mortality rates was due to preventative screening:


“Declines in mortality through 2000 are attributed to improvements in treatment (12%), changing patterns in CRC risk factors (35%), and screening (53%). However, screening likely played an even larger role in more recent trends given its steep increase since 2000.”


Not only was this an important message, the results of both Rob and Ryan’s procedures help to shed light that this can happen to anyone, and that everyone can benefit from proactive and preventative care. We were able to see through their genuine emotions and reactions that while it also may be the last thing anyone wants to do on their 45th birthday, it is a commonly done and completely normal procedure that could end up saving your life.


To me, this film represents the potential power that advertising has, to move beyond a price-point and CTA to deeper messaging with the potential to make a difference in a viewer’s life. While I may not be a creative, this type of work absolutely energizes the creative part of my mind, thinking about what that next step could be for a campaign in the future. Work like this reminds me why I love what I do, helping creative ideas come to life!


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