BBDO, Smuggler win Emmy for ‘Back to School Essentials’

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(BBDO, SMUGGLER and Sandy Hook Promise wins Emmy)

On Saturday, September 19, Sandy Hook Promise, Smuggler Productions, and BBDO New York were honored with the prestigious Emmy Award for Outstanding Commercial of 2019 for “Back-to-School Essentials,” the short film that gives voices to students’ fears that school shootings have become the new normal.

The Television Academy of Arts and Sciences selected this PSA over ads by Apple, Amazon, Jeep and P&G for the Creative Arts category presented via live stream ahead of the 72nd Annual Emmy Awards telecast.

“We are honored and humbled that the Academy chose to recognize ‘Back-to-School Essentials’ for Outstanding Commercial. As a nonprofit organization, our mission is to end school shootings and prevent violence that harms children. The only way that can happen is if parents understand the real fears our kids have, and take action, including learning the warning signs of potential violence and speaking up,” said Nicole Hockley, co-founder and managing director of Sandy Hook Promise and mother of Dylan who was killed in the Sandy Hook tragedy.

Tasked with an extremely challenging script, SMUGGLER director Henry-Alex Rubin expertly balanced the light-hearted nature of a back-to-school ad with the chilling but legitimate threat of school shootings.


ALSO READ: Complete list of winners from 72nd “PandEmmys”


“We are grateful to our creative partners, BBDO New York and Smuggler Productions, for helping us develop innovative ways to reach as many people as possible with this life-saving message — and to our media partners for the donated airtime that brings the PSA into millions of homes nationwide.”

“Back-to-School Essentials” is the latest in a series of short film PSAs by Sandy Hook Promise and BBDO New York that include the viral sensations “Evan” and “Point of View,” along with “Tomorrow’s News” and “Monsters Under the Bed,” that have amassed a combined 230 million+ views worldwide. The goal of these productions is to emphasize that school shootings are preventable when you “know the signs.”

To date, more than 12 million people nationwide have participated in Sandy Hook Promise’s proven Know the Signs programs that focus on prevention to help end the epidemic of gun violence by training youth and adults how to identify at-risk behavior and intervene to get help before a tragedy can occur.

This was Rubin’s first Emmy win for Outstanding Commercial and third nomination. Previous nominations include ‘Dear Peyton’, featuring Peyton Manning and ‘Made In New York’, celebrating the legacy of former Yankee shortstop Derek Jeter both for Gatorade and TBWA\Chiat\Day LA.


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This is SMUGGLER’s sixth company nomination and second win. Other wins include ‘Calling JohnMalkovich.com’ for Squarespace directed by Miles Jay and previous nominations include the aforementioned spots as well as ‘Color Changes Everything’ for Target and Wieden+Kennedy NY directed by Filip Engstrom and ‘Human Chain’ for Nike and Wieden+Kennedy Portland directed by Brian Beletic. 

SOURCE: Sandy Hook Promise 

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