'Captivating' Ad Takes You Back to High School Romance*

*And while you're busy being captivated, it clobbers you with a different message
By Polly Davis Doig,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 4, 2016 1:32 PM CST
Updated Dec 10, 2016 6:57 AM CST

Meet Evan. He's a bored high school kid who starts defacing school property, er, doodling on a table in the library one day. Someone writes back. Messages are swapped as days pass, mystery and romance bloom. Evan wanders the halls, eyeing his classmates, wondering who his mystery penpal is, and as AdWeek puts it, "there ensues a back-and-forth that's pretty captivating. Perhaps too captivating." (To avoid spoilers, stop reading and watch the video.) The end result has been described as "jarring" (Kansas City Star), "chilling" (Mic), and "powerful" (People).

While you and Evan are busy being captivated—especially as Evan meets his mystery penpal—one of Evan's classmates is lurking in the background providing warning signs that he's planning a shooting, which in fact interrupts that very meeting we've been waiting for. The ad comes courtesy of Sandy Hook Promise, run by family of the victims of the school shooting in Newtown, Conn. "When you don't know what to look for, or can't recognize what you are seeing, it can be easy to miss warning signs or dismiss them as unimportant," says Nicole Hockley, whose 6-year-old son, Dylan, died in the massacre. The organization, which says 80% of shooters tell someone what they're planning, aims to shine a light on the need to watch for those signs. (In Utah, a teen's own parents disarmed him inside a school.)

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