The Story of UN from The Unlimited is a bold brand campaign that unshackles old ways of being and unmutes new South African voices. It is a manifesto that calls upon people to unlimit their lives, not with ordinary pom-poms and a rah-rah corporate call, but through a co-lab of 21 collaborators who tell their own unlimited stories in the face of tragedy, stigma, bias, inequality and the daily grind of a 'normal' routine.
The Unlimited and Joe Public Cape Town created this approach on a scale not yet seen in South African advertising. With 21 individual collaborators and 15 directors contributing to bring to life the manifesto of The Unlimited, in one TV advert, The Story of UN signals an inclusive shift in approach that hopefully inspires others in the industry to follow.
There’s no holding back in The Unlimited’s new brand campaign – it is bold and brazen, raw, provocative, and unapologetic in its call that everyone in the country shift the status quo. To do this, The Unlimited asked collaborators: “What does unlimited look like in your life?”
The brand TV ad and online content reflects the interpretations of the manifesto of The Unlimited by a host of incredible South Africans whose stories reflect the company’s shifting lives mantra. With each of these creators given free rein to document how their lives are unlimited, and their life story creations combined to present The Story of UN, this could be among the most original South African projects.
Watch the TV ad here.
“Scripted as our manifesto, the commercial is a stake in the ground in terms of who we are and what we stand for. However it’s also very much a look through the lens of what it means to unlimit your life, and how different that can be for a variety of people. We wanted something real and inspirational to share with people, and so the campaign is about being out there and authentic in being your true self, all the things that are incredibly important to us as a company,” says the head of brand at The Unlimited, Susie Hart.
She comments that The Unlimited was inspired by the massively collaborative nature of the project as it transformed into being the most unlimited creative brief of her career.
The approach by Joe Public Cape Town in realising the potential of such a brief is a phenomenal story in itself, she says. “They not only sourced this collection of people doing extraordinary things, they created a co-lab of directors and creators, with the unparalleled Fausto Becatti of Bioscope being the overall director. The result is a plethora of characters and cultures that come through in a unique and powerful way.”
Campaign collaborators were united by one common trait: the undying will to defy expectation and challenge the norm – pushing the boundaries in each of their respective disciplines: from a young man who taught himself how to build robots, to a one-armed drummer who is undoing his past, to a drag artist who is breaking ground for the African LGBTQ community.
Commenting that they democratised the creative and production process, executive creative director of Joe Public Cape Town, Brendan Hoffmann, added: “For us there’s absolute beauty in the way the campaign was created, unhinged and totally authentic to each collaborator. The Unlimited is a maverick business unlike any other and we wanted their brand work to reflect this.”
The objective, he said, was to get lots of people to produce lots of different styles of work, and then to take pieces of those stories and create the final TV ad. “What an opportunity it has been to work with a brand that doesn’t play by the rules because it gave us the scope to open up the opportunities to so many more creatives in the process, as we built our narrative through an organic approach of multiple voices and individual footage.”
Visit 21 Collaborator Stories to view the 2-minute stories of each of the remarkable South African creators in The Unlimited campaign.
“We believe there’s only one way to live and that is without limits. Through this campaign we hope to inspire people to unlimit their lives in whatever way is meaningful to them, and to be part of creating a more inclusive and open minded world,” concluded Hart.