Ad of the Week: The Economist, Mandela’s Walk

To commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela, The Economist has launched this elegantly designed website and film that links to articles about Mandela from the magazine’s archives, stretching back to 1947. The site is our ad of the week.

To commemorate the life of Nelson Mandela, The Economist has launched this elegantly designed website and film that links to articles related to the statesman from the magazine’s archives, stretching back to 1947. The site is our ad of the week.

Created by AMV BBDO, the Mandela’s Walk website (found at mandelaswalk.com) opens with a film that shows people walking across an open field carrying various items, such as photographs, placards and clothing, which they place on the ground. A voiceover by poet Benjamin Zephaniah speaks about the choices made on the “long road that is life”, and at the end of the film the camera pulls back to reveal that the objects come together to form an illustration of Nelson Mandela’s face.This then becomes the homepage of the interactive experience, where users can click on various articles from the Economist.

The death of a significant figure is a delicate time for a brand to claim an affliliation with them: there is always a risk that they may be seen as trying to trade on tragedy. Yet Mandela’s death raised enormous interest from the public and the media, and the website provides a fascinating insight into how events in South Africa were perceived at the time they took place. There is also a pre-established link between Mandela and the magazine, as it is known that he read the Economist during his time on Robben Island.

Sensibly, the magazine doesn’t shout about this link though, and the website is instead a delicate, respectful piece of work, less an ad than a homage to Mandela and his life, with the subtle message about the Economist’s longevity and significance left to the audience to figure out by themselves.

Credits:
Agency: AMV BBDO
Creatives: Mark Fairbanks, Thiago De Moraes
Director: Anders Jedenfors
Film/interactive production company: Acne
Interactive director: Gustav Carpner

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