One of the things I love most about advertising is its ability to display a company or a product in its best light. But every now and then comes an ad that stands out from the rest because it changes things up in a revolutionary way. An example of this comes from Ogilvy and IBM, who made a huge impact in advertising and science by creating an ad that used the world’s smallest actors, no not Mini-Me, but atoms.

Here it is:

The movie is titled “A Boy and His Atom” and it is made up of thousands of individual atoms that move in nearly 250 frames. It’s a simple story of a boy aptly named “Atom” who dances and plays around with an atom. He bounces the atom around, jumps on it, and even appears to smile while playing with it. It’s kind of cute…in a nanotechnological way. However, the movie is more than just theatrics. It represents a breakthrough in IBM’s research to test the limits of data storage. By manipulating atoms down to the individual level, IBM hopes to be able to store more data in fewer atoms. Currently, today’s electronic devices need about 1 million atoms to store 1 Bit of data. But scientists at IBM have discovered that they need only 12 atoms to store the same amount. In everyday terms, that means that every movie ever produced could be stored in a device that is the size of a fingernail!

What I love about this ad is that it combines two of my favorite topics—science and advertising. I’ve always been really interested in, to state it simply, everything big like space and planets and light years, and everything small like atoms and charges and nanotechnology. This ad makes me excited about learning more about science, more than how college has done so far. It’s truly amazing that science has come this far. IBM is no stranger to inventing revolutionary products (think: ATMs, Hard Drives, Floppy disks, Magnetic stripes on credit cards, and more!). This is just another day in the life of a researcher at the company. Says Andreas Heinrich, the main investigator at IBM Research, “At IBM, researchers don’t just read about science, we do it. This movie is a fun way to share the atomic-scale world and show everyday people the challenges and fun science can create.” Heinrich even takes a jab at the disparity of students pursuing the sciences saying, “If I can do this by making a movie, and I can get a thousand kids to join science rather than go into law school, I’d be super happy.” Well said, good sir, we definitely need to push our students to pursue science. And of course, let’s not forget that the ad not only inspires people to think “that’s so cool, I want to become a scientist”, but it also persuades them add in, “a scientist at IBM”!

Here’s the making of the ad:

As always, thank you for reading and please comment below!