Key Art | Tagline | Advertising | Digital | Print

We created a digital and print campaign in collaboration with PBS Creative Services team for the Ken Burns and Lynn Novick documentary Hemingway, showing the writer in a whole new light. The film delves deep into the life and times of Ernest Hemingway, exposing both a celebrated and celebrity author, and a complex and complicated man.

Key Art

We needed to tap into the target viewers’ basic knowledge and assumptions of who Hemingway was as a writer and a personality, while portraying the dramatic “fact-is-more-fantastic-than-fiction” story of his personal life, wild adventures, and literary accomplishments that are still astounding today.

The documentary had a clearly defined audience: adults 45+, Ken Burns fans, and a broader base of biography lovers. Considering that, it was clear we needed a creative solution that showed the complexities of Hemingway, beyond the well-known facts of his life.

The key theme to be communicated in our creative is that the man was, in fact, much greater than the myth.

To that end, we used Hemingway’s own words to bring him to life, creating a portrait out of his writings, based on the iconic photo by Yousuf Karsh. The key art was a graphic display of the different aspects of his work, his journeys, and his personality.



As with our past work on Ken Burns’s documentary Country Music, our work for Hemingway consisted of a full 360 campaign, ranging from key art and tagline development, to digital and print advertising.

The advertising campaign included homepage takeovers for both The New Yorker and The New York Times, among a variety of other digital publications, as well as a full page print ad in the Sunday New York Times.

In addition, our key art was repurposed for product tie-ins, including The Hemingway Stories, a newly published collection showcasing the best of Ernest Hemingway’s short stories, including his well-known classics.

PBS has been partnering with SJI on promotional campaigns large and small for over 15 years, so naturally we turned to them to help us promote Ken Burns’s latest film, HEMINGWAY. And, as they always do, SJI delivered.

The final key art was beautiful, flexible and worked on all platforms… We even adopted the creative for all of our video assets on-air and online. The work was universally praised by PBS and all of our partners including the directors and producers of the film. We couldn’t have asked for a better agency to work with on this campaign.
John Ruppenthal Sr. Creative Director, PBS Creative Services