GoFundMe’s Beautiful Year End Film Brings 2022’s Donation Stories to Life

Film by AKQA uses AI-generated art to illustrate events including Hurricane Ian and the war in Ukraine

Ad Age: End of year wrap-up films have become a popular way for tech platforms to remind consumers of what’s happened in their communities during the year gone by. We’ve already seen this year’s efforts from the likes of Reddit, Google and Spotify, and now the donations platform GoFundMe has joined their ranks, with a film illustrating the positive impact that its donors have on the world around them.

GoFundMe has for several years generated digital reports highlighting the impact of its donations, but this is the first time it’s expressed them in a commercial. Created by AKQA San Francisco, the spot, titled “Help Changes Everything,” takes its inspiration from a street mural but brings scenes from the mural to life using A.I. generated art, depicting some of the donors and recipients who have used the platform.

The scenes depict real user stories from 2022, such as a veteran’s house being rebuilt after a fire, pets being rescued after Hurricane Ian, and Ukrainian refugees being reunited. The film ends by zooming out from the A.I-animated painted world to a completed street mural.

The team worked with LA-based A.I. artist and director, Paul Trillo of ArtClass to generate the campaign’s visuals. The production included using a combination of DALL-E for composite layers of visual assets, and Stable Diffusion’s Image-2-Image for frame regeneration of a hand painted aesthetic.

“We wanted to bring to life this mural in a way where every frame looks like a painting,” said Trillo. “This style of animation used in this project is something that could not have been achieved even just six months ago.”

“Strategically, we are aware that the end of year period is flooded with sentimental live action films, and ‘year in review’ data storytelling,” added Tim McDonell, executive creative director at AKQA. “So we wanted to create something that would immediately help GoFundMe stand out. Knowing that A.I. is now at a point of generating beautiful art, we were confident that a painterly aesthetic would visually cut through on broadcast, as well as fit in more naturally as community content, versus sales-y advertising, on the audience’s social feeds.”

“Logistically, a traditional film or animation approach to creating such unique visuals wouldn’t have been possible for this brief,” he added. “So to be smart with our timeline and production budget, we used a combination of several A.I. technologies to generate a massive scale of assets – literally making up every single frame of the film – that the team of artists could then leverage and manipulate more seamlessly in post-production. Working with the GoFundMe team, we aligned on a narrative that even the smallest contribution adds up to help change the world; hence the ‘building blocks’ visual feel of the film, showing worlds being bettered in real time.”

The audience for the campaign is the donors themselves who have made the difference, added Alex Anderson, senior director, brand and creative at GoFundMe.

“A donation is made on the platform every single second and the goal of this campaign is to thank all of those donors for their kindness and to remind them that every act of help adds up to make a meaningful difference.”