Microsoft is hoping to spread a message of “harmony” with its 2016 holiday ad to lift people up from a “rough year” that has seen its fair share of divisive and negative news.
Launched Monday, Microsoft’s “Art of Harmony” campaign puts the spotlight on a group of seven real-life people — activists, artists, and entrepreneurs — many of whom have overcome adversity to stand up for what they believe in.
A TV ad (watch it below) shows the group working together using Microsoft Surface Studio to create a peace mural. The film ends with the words: “When the world seems divided, coming together can be a beautiful thing.”
Kathleen Hall, corporate VP of brand advertising and research at Microsoft said in a statement: “We knew it’s been a rough year and people have been exposed to a lot of challenging issues. We hope this gives people some positivity and hope in the season which is what it should be about.”
Ad agency m:united//McCann, which created the campaign, said: “This year has been challenging for many and much of what we hear in the news can be negative. Microsoft wanted to lift people up and remind them that ordinary people can make a difference. The message focuses on the spirit of the holidays, people coming together and celebrating what is good and right with the world — what unites us, instead of what divides us.”
The campaign will run on TV, online, outdoor, and social media. It follows last year’s “Spread Harmony” holiday message.
These are the seven people who appear in the ad (as per the press release):
- Joel Artista is an artist, educator and advocate for social change through community-based public art.
- Zianna Oliphant is a child activist, who pleaded to the Charlotte City Council for equality and for the fighting to stop.
- Bobby White is a Florida police officer nicknamed the “basketball cop” after a video of him playing ball with local kids, rather than busting them after a complaint, went viral.
- Hawa Diallo is a West African refugee artist who discovered her need to create in her mid-40s to express the beauty and pain of her experiences.
- Jazz Jennings is the youngest person to publicly identify herself as transgender, and is now a national role-model and activist for transgender youth.
- Zea Bowling is a 7-year old first grader who stood firm in the face of hate during a celebration of the Supreme Court ruling that legalised same-sex marriage.
- Christopher Catrambone is an entrepreneur who founded the Migrant Offshore Aid Station, a global search and rescue charity for migrants crossing the Mediterranean Sea.
- Mona Haydar is a Muslim-American activist who invites people to come “ask a Muslim” over free coffee and doughnuts.
Microsoft is not the first tech company to use its holiday advertising to reflect on the last 12 crazy months. Spotify’s new campaign carries the tagline: “Thanks, 2016. It’s been weird.”
Microsoft’s 2016 holiday ad — “Art of Harmony”:
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