COURTNEY HOFFMAN of LIEF Makes Commercial Directing Debut with ‘Message Privately,’ WhatsApp’s Global Privacy Campaign

July 6th, 2021

WhatsApp has released the final spot from their global privacy campaign, a collaboration with BBDO Berlin. Courtney Hoffman of London-based production company Lief brings a fresh perspective to the “Message Privately” campaign, marking her commercial directing debut with the collection of three spots.

Utilising a rich visual palette, the ads showcase the Facebook-owned app’s end-to-end encryption feature. End-to-end encryption technology adds layers of protection, ensuring only you and the recipient have access to your messages. Nobody else, not even WhatsApp, has access to your conversations.

Keeping things fun with pops of color and a bouncy vibrancy throughout, Lief and Hoffman’s devotion to creating standout work demonstrates a richness in storytelling from an entertainment mindset. Hoffman is no stranger to working within this world; for the past decade she has worked as a lauded costume designer for commercial and film, with credits including Baby Driver, The Hateful Eight, and Captain Fantastic.

It’s no surprise, then, that every detail of the WhatsApp campaign oozes a filmmaker-forward approach, featuring spot-on costume, art direction, cinematography, and great casting of actors, while the original music by award-winning composer Emile Mosseri (Minari, Kajilionaire) brings a playfulness and spirited energy to each spot.

The first ad “Double Date” transports the viewer to an awkward restaurant scene, where one couple dominates the conversation. Rather than delivering a nudge or kick, the quieter twosome WhatsApp one another privately under the table, then share a knowing glance. In “Dream Job,” a woman receives notice of a career-changing decision while in the loo, then proceeds to take a victory exit lap out of the office. A feel-good aura pervades the final spot “Secret Language,” revealing the behind-the-scenes education that went into learning the language of a loved one.

Curating the right filmmaker for the creative brief is a hallmark of Lief’s, as Founder/Executive Producer Margo Mars is known for guiding completely new and unlikely talent to land major commercial projects. A reputation well-earned, as evidenced by this campaign-helming debut, wherein Hoffman details the privacy benefits of WhatsApp’s end-to-end encryption with confidence, panache, and just the right amount of cheek.

“Working with Lief, BBDO and WhatsApp was a creatively empowering experience,” Hoffman remarks. “I had a tremendous amount of trust and freedom throughout the entire creative process, from casting primarily theatre actors to using bold colors and crafting the scores. I loved the challenge to tell full, ambitious, visual stories in 30 seconds and I hope this proves that when you give women a chance, that fresh, exciting, new perspectives can be unleashed. Margo Mars proves that when we champion each other, incredible things can happen.”