In 2016, the Y launched its first national campaign, “For a Better Us.” The campaign highlights all the crucial ways the Y serves communities nationwide with the mission of making us all better. The objectives of the campaign are to shift perceptions of the Y from a “gym and swim” to a relevant, impactful nonprofit and to help inspire people to donate and fund the work the Y does.
The campaign launched with two commercials, Places and Idle Hands, each of which depicts a different problem facing America today. Places tackles the forgotten communities rarely given the opportunities they need to thrive and presents the Y as a place that provides those chances. Idle Hands focuses on the growing problem of disappearing communal spaces and, in turn, what kids get involved with when they have nowhere to go. It presents the Y as a safe space where idle hands can be creative and productive.
Both spots were directed by Seb Edwards and filmed in and around Baltimore—a city that’s representative of many urban areas around the country that are struggling with similar issues.
Places was shot in West Baltimore, Maryland, which is a neighborhood that suffers from extreme income inequality and that is frequently in the news for its social unrest. Idle Hands was shot in Dundalk, Maryland, which is a low-income suburb that lacks the third spaces and recreational activities that are vital for kids. The spots feature casts comprised of real people who live in these areas and who authentically experience the conditions and problems the Y is working to solve.