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Boys Town is a non-profit organization dedicated to raising awareness about depression in youth. Pixeldust was approached by their ad agency, August, Lang, & Husak, to make a series of ads that showed teens who struggle with depression, and the concrete efforts they can take to overcome it.

Creative Director: Ricardo Andrade
Art Director: Manuel Messerli
Editor, Producer: Rico Andrade


To make these ads relatable to young audiences who struggle with depression , Pixeldust chose to avoid an overly corporate look, in favor of a more naturalistic, indie look. This resulted in a combination of animated line drawings and live-action footage of actors. The spots were entirely driven by the teens’ inner thoughts and dialogue, expressing their feelings, and how they worked out tangible solutions to better their situation, to allow them to focus their energy on moving forward.


The teenage actors were filmed in a green screen environment in order to allow the team to seamlessly swap out scenery around them, while also allowing the actors to stand out. While Pixeldust’s illustrators constructed a variety of different scenes to place the teens into, the animators began rotoscoping, separating the actors from the green screen to meticulous detail. Lastly, Pixeldust animators composited the teens into the scenes, and enhanced their words and actions with gestural flourishes and creative transitions.


Drag the button at the middle of the image to progress the green screen footage to the final composited animations.


In the wake of recent global events, there has been a lot of media discourse over the idea of “getting back to normal”. This spot features a teenage girl questioning the definition of “normal”, expressing that through the many recent changes in her life, she can no longer remember what she once considered normal. She explores the various sides of her personality through a variety of outfit changes in front of her bedroom mirror, never feeling like any fits who she is now, until finally resolving to give up on going “back”, and instead choose to move forward – discovering the new person she is today.


A young lady decides to take inventory of her life, so that she can come up with a plan of action. She describes the simple coping strategy of doing less of the activities that don’t help, and doing more things that will contribute to a better state of mental well-being. 


Describing his life’s problems as bricks in his backpack, this teen metaphorically rummages through his emotional baggage. As he explores the many reasons his life has felt too heavy as of late, he cathartically smashes the bricks one by one, choosing to let go of his hang-ups, in order to lighten the weight of life.