Family Stories Shine in New Campaign from Ancestry and Avocados and Coconuts

Creative production agency Avocados and Coconuts reunited with Ancestry® – the global leader in family history – to create new ads for their campaign called “It’s a Family Thing™.” The campaign includes five spots featuring real families. Taking a vérité approach, Avocados and Coconuts directors Christopher Newman and Matthew Palmer infused their unique documentary styles to showcase how Ancestry is a place where families can discover, craft, and connect their family story together. The new ads are currently live on broadcast, digital, and social platforms.

Each spot tells the story of family passions and traditions passed along generations—from the Zimmermans’ glass-blowing artistry to the Meyers’ 130-year-old family-owned hat store, the Healys’ legacy of dancing, and the Hogartys’ shared athleticism. The stories conclude with the tagline “It’s a Family Thing™” and the super graphics “Discover. Preserve. Share.”

“We are thrilled to be collaborating once again with our trusted production partners, Avocados and Coconuts, on the next wave of our creative TV ads,” says Paige Grossman, Vice President, Global Creative & Brand at Ancestry. “Our goal is to give prospective audiences a glimpse into what Ancestry delivers and produce high-quality content that truly does justice to our customers' remarkable journeys. With their understanding of our brand's values and heritage, Avocados and Coconuts helped us create ads that truly resonate and showcase the best of our product in a way that feels authentic and relatable.”

“This campaign was the magical intersection of my documentary sensibilities and Ancestry’s fundamental mission, which are both rooted in the element of discovery,” says Newman, who directed the Zimmerman and Hogarty family spots. “I enjoy working with real people from all walks of life, and here, we got to work on uncovering the uniqueness of each family dynamic and the extraordinary stories of how their passions and histories are tied together through shared DNA. By bringing these stories to life, we can remind other people that they can also discover their own.”

Essential to the campaign was casting, as Ancestry and the Avocados team partnered with casting agencies to find four families that not only represented the campaign theme of shared traits, hobbies, and businesses but also the diversity of Ancestry’s client base; moreover, as non-actors, subjects who could express themselves authentically and naturally on camera. Newman and Palmer conducted pre-interview sessions via Zoom to prepare for the shoot while keeping vérité moments open and conversational on set, embedding themselves within the families with smaller, intimate crews for each two-day shoot, and using locations that were authentic to each family, from homes to schools to places of business.

While the films could function as standalone pieces, the Avocados team ensured there was still connective tissue across the entire campaign through cinematography, lensing, animation, and graphics. All spots were shot by Director of Photography John Rosario, who is known for his ability to capture in-the-moment shots and his detailed eye for framing, lensing, and lighting.

“This was an awesome team effort from start to finish,” explains Palmer, who helmed the Meyer and Healy spots. “Ancestry entrusted Chris and me to put our own creative stamps on each piece and do what was needed to serve each family’s generational story. I think we struck a good balance between visual consistency -- by using the same DP and technical specs - and leaning into the story, so it didn’t feel like a cookie-cutter template. For me, the visual approach was story-dependent. The dancing Healy family had energetic, free-flowing camera movements, while the Meyer hat-makers had a more observational, voyeuristic feel. More importantly, the spots had to be relatable, accessible, and real – a narrative that draws you in and is fun to watch but also inspires you to find your own legacy.”

“As a creative agency, doc-style commercial work is very much in our wheelhouse,” concludes Amani King, Avocados and Coconuts Executive Creative Director. “Over the years, we’ve built this amazing foundation and shorthand with Paige and her team. This was the perfect evolution for us, from previous user testimonial campaigns we produced for the brand to this type of cinematic filmmaking that demonstrates Chris and Matt’s expertise in telling stories that are not only uplifting but also resonate with the larger mission of the emotional family bonds that Ancestry fosters.”

Client: Ancestry
Vice President, Global Creative & Brand: Paige Grossman
Creative Lead: Elizabeth Asdorian
Marketing Lead: Robin Quill
Project Management Lead: Nik Yokomizo
Story Producer Team: Jenn Utley, Nicka Smith, Lisa Elzey

Creative Production Agency: Avocados and Coconuts
Executive Producer: Dalia Burde
Executive Creative Director: Amani King
Directors: Matthew Palmer (Meyer and Healy) and Christopher Newman (Zimmerman and Hogarty)
Director of Photography: John Rosario
Producer: Cory Desrosiers
Production Manager: Gabby Occhipinti
Stills Photography: Alanna Hale

Post-Production Company: Avocados and Coconuts
Post Producer: Jessica Kenney and Tyler Dunham
Editors: Hanna Moradi (Meyer and Zimmerman) and Gaby Scott (Healy and Hogarty)
Motion Graphics: Jessie Renda
Assistant Editors: Brendan Bric and Kirk Benttinen

Mix: Joaby Deal at One Union

Color: Roast N Post

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