Key Art | Advertising | Digital

We were honored to create the key art, tag line, and full digital and print campaign for The U.S. and the Holocaust, A Film by Ken Burns, Lynn Novick and Sarah Botstein which aired on PBS.

In tackling this deep reflection of America’s role in humanity’s darkest hour, we were challenged with creating a single image that was emotional and expressive while avoiding being sensationalistic.

It was decided that no single photographic image could convey the depth and breadth of stories told within the film; instead we opted to create an illustration representing the hopes for U.S. aid from those faced with the horrors of the Holocaust.

An altered American flag layout proved to be the perfect vehicle for conveying the concept of people reaching to the United States for help. Utilizing a retro, Saul Bass-inspired illustration style, the resulting key art was exactly the bold, evocative creative the project demanded.

The key art, designed to be malleable to different formats and sizes, was then adapted into a full digital and social campaign, as well as multiple platform artwork tactics for different streaming services. Full page print ads were taken out in major publications including The New York Times.

The film premiered at Bard College Berlin in coordination with the US Embassy in Germany, and was featured in tweets by US Ambassadors Amy Gutmann and Michèle Taylor, and State Department Spokesperson Ned Price.

America and the Holocaust

Given the sensitive subject matter of the film, we knew that promoting Ken’s series THE U.S. AND THE HOLOCAUST was going to be a challenge. We needed a partner who could take to heart the sensitivities the film presented and still provide smart, thought-provoking creative that would stand out and deliver. We knew from the beginning that SJI was that partner. Suzy and her team were as committed to this film as any project I’ve worked with them on over the years. They invested the time upfront in research and the thoughtful development of concepts that continually excited and inspired our team. SJI’s passion for Ken’s film and for the creative they presented was evident throughout the development of the art. We ended up with a design that is one of the most beautiful and arresting images for a series I’ve ever seen, probably the highlight of my career. I can’t imagine working on this campaign with anyone else. Thanks Suzy, David and the rest of the team for taking such an amazing journey with us.
John Ruppenthal Senior Creative Director, Brand & Digital Innovation PBS