Courtney Hoffman makes commercial directorial debut for WhatsApp

(New Lief Production for WhatsApp)

Today WhatsApp released the final spot from their global privacy campaign, a collaboration with BBDO Berlin. Courtney Hoffman of London-based production company Lief brings a fresh perspective to the “Message Privately” campaign, marking her commercial directing debut with the collection of three spots.

Utilizing a rich visual palette, the ads showcase the Facebook-owned app’s end-to-end encryption feature. End-to-end encryption technology adds layers of protection, ensuring only you and the recipient have access to your messages. Nobody else, not even WhatsApp, has access to your conversations.

Keeping things fun with pops of color and a bouncy vibrancy throughout, Lief and Hoffman’s devotion to creating standout work demonstrates a richness in storytelling from an entertainment mindset. Hoffman is no stranger to working within this world; for the past decade, she has worked as a lauded costume designer for commercial and film, with credits including Baby DriverThe Hateful Eight, and Captain Fantastic.

It’s no surprise, then, that every detail of the WhatsApp campaign oozes a filmmaker-forward approach, featuring spot-on costume, art direction, cinematography, and great casting of actors, while the original music by award-winning composer Emile Mosseri (Minari, Kajilionaire) brings playfulness and spirited energy to each spot.

The first ad “Double Date” transports the viewer to an awkward restaurant scene, where one couple dominates the conversation. Rather than delivering a nudge or kick, the quieter twosome WhatsApp one another privately under the table, then share a knowing glance.

In “Dream Job,” a woman receives notice of a career-changing decision while in the loo, then proceeds to take a victory exit lap out of the office.

A feel-good aura pervades the final spot “Secret Language,” revealing the behind-the-scenes education that went into learning the language of a loved one.

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“Working with Lief, BBDO and WhatsApp was a creatively empowering experience,” Hoffman remarks. “I had a tremendous amount of trust and freedom throughout the entire creative process, from casting primarily theatre actors to using bold colours and crafting the scores. I loved the challenge to tell full, ambitious, visual stories in 30 seconds and I hope this proves that when you give women a chance, that fresh, exciting, new perspectives can be unleashed. Margo Mars proves that when we champion each other, incredible things can happen.”

Who is Courtney Hoffman?

Curating the right filmmaker for the creative brief is a hallmark of Lief’s, as Founder/Executive Producer Margo Mars is known for guiding completely new and unlikely talent to land major commercial projects. A reputation well-earned, as evidenced by this campaign-helming debut, wherein Courtney Hoffman details the privacy benefits of WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption with confidence, panache, and just the right amount of cheek.

Hoffman has spent the last decade working in Costume Design for features and commercials. Her recent credits include Baby DriverThe Hateful Eight, and Captain Fantastic. She prides herself on creating characters with a cultural pervasiveness that really penetrates society and it was only natural for her to make the move to shape the entire story.  

Courtney Hoffman

Leaving a prestigious career as a Costume Designer behind, Courtney Hoffman wrote and directed her debut short film The Good Time Girls to wide acclaim. The unique short stars Laura Dern and was released as part of Refinery 29’s Shatterbox Anthology.

In addition to the feature adaptation of The Good Time Girls, Courtney now has features in development with Steven Spielberg, Quentin Tarantino, and J.J. Abrams and his company Bad Robot.

Most recently her former career was immortalized on screen as she portrays the Costume Designer alongside Leonardo DiCaprio in Tarantino’s Once upon a Time.. In Hollywood.

Courtney is looking forward to directing many more female-forward, visually bold stories that are highly creative as well as commercially appealing.


CLIENT: Facebook | WhatsApp 

AGENCY: Creative X Team

  • Managing Director: Amanda Goodspeed
  • Head of Creative | WhatsApp: Rodrigo Moran
  • Creative Director: Lucas Heck
  • ACD: André Felix “Felix”
  • ACD/Art Director: Belén Márquez
  • ACD/Copywriter: Soham Chatterjee
  • Copywriter: Amari Lilton
  • Designer: James Anderson
  • Program Lead: Marla McCormick
  • Program Manager: Ally Galston
  • Executive Producer: Chad Emerson
  • Producer: Karena Dacker
  • Business Affairs Manager: Nicholas Sempertegui
  • Marketing Team
  • Director, Marketing: Maz Sharafi
  • Director, Brand & Consumer Marketing: Eshan Ponnadurai
  • Global Head of Brand & Integrated Marketing: Vivian Odior
  • Brand Marketing Manager: Jessica Chin
  • Consumer Producer Marketing Manager: Bosco Zubiaga Delclaux
  • Creative Producer: Eric Rottenberg
  • Global Head of Culture & Community: Helen Lawrence
  • Global Social Marketing Lead: Nathalie Balda
  • Strategic Media Planning Lead: Peter Schnupp
  • Strategic Media Planning: Felipe Tavares Chaves
  • Global Performance, FB Platform: Erica Hong
  • Global Performance, FB Platform: Grace Wong


  • Global TeamGlobal Creative Lead, BBDO San Francisco: Tres Colacion
  • Global Strategy Lead, BBDO San Francisco: Jose Higuera
  • Global Account Lead, BBDO San Francisco: Minjia Qiu
  • Global Account Director, BBDO San Francisco: Natasha Hoban
  • Global Management Supervisor, BBDO San Francisco: Disha Jain
  • Art Director, BBDO San Francisco: Madison Thompson
  • Copywriter, BBDO San Francisco: Ian Forsyth

Berlin Team

  • Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Berlin: Till Diestel
  • Creative Director, BBDO Berlin: Wolfgang Warziliek 
  • Creative Director, BBDO Berlin: Erick Barrios Hernandez
  • Senior Copywriter, BBDO Berlin: Florestan Roesemann
  • Senior Art Director, BBDO Berlin: Erin Conboy
  • Chief Creative Officer, BBDO Berlin: Till Diestel
  • Creative Director, BBDO Berlin: Wolfgang Warziliek 
  • Creative Director, BBDO Berlin: Erick Barrios Hernandez
  • Senior Copywriter, BBDO Berlin: Florestan Roesemann
  • Senior Art Director, BBDO Berlin: Erin Conboy
  • Senior Art Director, BBDO Berlin: Deepanjali Singh
  • Senior Art Director, BBDO Berlin: Deepanjali Singh
  • Senior Art Director, BBDO Berlin: Maxim Weinstein
  • Copywriter, BBDO Berlin: Dara Luise Kleye
  • Junior Art Director, BBDO Berlin: Rishabh Jain
  • Junior Designer, BBDO Berlin: Arash Sabbagh
  • Managing Director, BBDO Berlin: Mark Andree
  • Senior Account Manager, BBDO Berlin: Kadia Sow
  • Account Manager, BBDO Berlin: Lea Duchez
  • Executive Producer: Alexander Geier
  • Art Buying: Betty Zschirnt
  • Art Producing: Katja Sluyter


  • Director: Courtney Hoffman
  • Executive Producer: Margo Mars       
  • Producer: Ella Sanderson                   
  • Production Manager: Lizzie Wilkinson                                
  • Location Manager: Ross Kirkman
  • Casting Director: Kharmel Cochrane 
  • 1st Assistant Director: Andrew Potter
  • 2nd Assistant Director: Andrew Vanneck
  • Director’s Assistant: Karimah Zakia Issa
  • Director of Photography: Ben Fordesman                          
  • 1st Assistant Camera: Kate Eccarius
  • Gaffer: Jono Yates
  • Production Designer: David Lee
  • Art Director: Poppy Luard
  • Costume Designer: Mr Gammon
  • Make-Up Artist: Michele Bayliss
  • Hair Stylist: Darren Evans
  • Editor: Paul O’Reilly
  • Assistant Editor: Helena Teixeira


Composer: Emile Mosseri

Sound Designer: Michael Vitacco


Colorist: Yoomin Lee


Post Production Supervisor: Wiebke Warndorf