Coming face-to-face with your ‘Wildhood’

Who: Go RVing Canada, with Broken Heart Love Affair for strategy and creative; OPC for production (directed by Natalie Rae); post production by Saints Editorial, Darling VFX, and Alter Ego; sound by OSO Audio; and media by Jungle Media.

What: “Find your Wildhood,” an evolution of the marketer’s eight-year-old “Wildhood” platform. It’s the first work from BHLA since winning the account in late 2021, but from the same creative team (Denise Rossetto and Todd Mackie) that created Wildhood at DS+P in 2015.

When & Where: The campaign is live now through the end of the year. It’s built around a two-and-a-half minute online video, with cutdowns running across TV, digital, and social.

Why: The Wildhood platform has always been about the transformative experiences one has with an RV, rather than the vehicles themselves. Originally, “Bring Back Wildhood” evoked the joy of childhood curiosity. In 2021, it was tweaked slightly to “Live your Wildhood,” inviting people to escape the city and pursue new experiences and create new memories by hitting the road in an RV.

Curiosity and discovery remain core themes of “Find your Wildhood,” but with a message that RVs allow one to escape the monotony of the daily grind and come “face-to-face with our true self.”

“The essence of the ‘Wildhood’ platform developed in 2015 remains true today,” said Kristy Pleckaitis, SVP of strategy at BHLA. “Humans have always had a sense of adventure and wanderlust, but the priority has shifted from connecting with nature, to connecting with oneself. So advertising that makes us feel like we can learn about our true self is welcomed.”

“’Wildhood’ is more than a campaign, it’s a state of being that exists in all of us—if we’re willing to look,” said Chris Mahony, president, Go RVing, Canada, in the release.

How: The ambitious anchor film opens with a man literally running from his life, out of the city and into the countryside, casting off his suit and throwing away his briefcase as he goes.

Finally, he comes to a roaring fire in a darkened wood. He sees a shadowy figure through the flames and chases after him. Eventually the pair jump off a rock face into a river, and it’s revealed that the man has literally come face-to-face with himself. The worn-down office worker version stares into the face of a more restful, peaceful version of himself.

The message “You are out there” appears on screen as he emerges from the water, apparently born again, and walks toward a tranquil campsite ringed by three RVs and welcoming fires. The spot closes with the tagline, “Find your Wildhood” and the GO Rving logo.

“The outward creative expression of ‘Wildhood’ has evolved to connect with what people are experiencing and feeling in 2023,” said Pleckaitis. “As we started to come out of lockdown, people quickly fell back into their old patterns and routines. We still conformed to the pressures, expectations, and rules that we’ve unthinkingly come to accept as the ‘norm.’ We were still surrendering who we want to be for who we think we should be, as defined by others.”

In production: OPC’s Natalie Rae shot the entire spot on film to “evoke a feeling of rawness and beauty, while also subtly conjuring the feeling and emotion of freedom,” said the release. The ad is soundtracked by “Stay Alive” from José González, who most of the ad world will remember from a famous spot with similarly cinematic aspirations: Sony Bravia’s “Bouncing Balls.”

There are multiple cutdowns, but most have the same conclusion. “We knew this was going to be an epic story, but the ending was the most important part,” said co-chief creative officer Denise Rossetto. “We also knew that at any length, reconciliation of the idea was going to come through, so we worked backwards from that, to ensure that all of the versions had a similar outcome.”

And we quote: “We are all explorers, motivated by wanderlust, and our most powerful memories tend to be of the moments shared with loved ones, of discovery, of places that fill us with awe and wonder. This is where the magic lies. Big or small, these moments enrich our lives.”— Chris Mahony, president, Go RVing, Canada.

David Brown