See a Couple’s Entire Life of Love and Loss Through Handwritten Notes They Leave Each Other

Ups and downs of a relationship in bite-sized fragments

Headshot of Angela Natividad

Recently I contemplated scanning all my notebooks into the cloud and going 100 percent digital. I bounced the idea off a friend, who replied, “Why? Paper lasts as long as you care for it. There’s something so impermanent about the internet. Things get lost.”

I was reminded of this while watching “Notes—a life story, a love story,” a long-form ad for Toronto-based stationary store Take Note.

The idea is simple: It opens after what would probably have been a one-night stand. But the woman leaves a note, kicking off a lifetime of note-leaving as the couple begins to fuse together.

See them through the giddy joy of discovery, moving house and pregnancy. You’ll also bear witness to moments that aren’t so kind.

We’re touched, but couldn’t help but wonder: Did these people ever actually talk?

Created by BBDO Toronto, the film’s purpose is to remind us of the small but impactful role that handwritten missives can play in our lives—even while most “real” communication happens via text, email and social posts. (Sometimes, if you’re lucky, someone might actually look at you and speak.)

“Most of our day-to-day communication now is very utilitarian,” observes Take Note owner Jolanta Petrycka. “But still, there’s nothing like receiving a handwritten letter in the mail or a note from someone you love.”

A study by Docmail found that one in three adults hasn’t had a reason to handwrite anything for at least six months. And it’s true that there’s a certain power in seeing something written, versus receiving a text.

Digital can make even loving messages feel terse, and while emojis go a long way in helping convey feeling, more can be revealed in handwriting, which can be leisurely or relaxed, or betray a tremble. Some bit of our DNA is transmitted there, along with the ink.

Even if all we’re writing is a prescription reminder or a shopping list.

“Leaving a note for someone is so much more personal and thoughtful than a text,” adds BBDO Toronto associate creative director Chris Booth. “We wanted to remind people how meaningful such a simple thing can be.”

The film went live via Facebook on Wednesday, and generated over 2,000 views without paid media. For brands who aren’t buying into the socnet’s programmatic racket, that’s no small feat—though promoted posts will support the video throughout the month of February.

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@luckthelady Angela Natividad is a frequent contributor to Adweek's creativity blog, AdFreak. She is also the author of Generation Creation and co-founder of Hurrah, an esports agency. She lives in Paris and when she isn't writing, she can be found picking food off your plate.