Quaker Bowls Us Over With Authentic Humans

A new digital experience from Quaker Oats, “100 Reasons to Rise,” presents a poetic reflection on the possibilities inherent in each new morning.

That’s deep, man, but it also manages to be human, soothing, and universal. It’s true time capsule material, like the 1955 breakthrough “Family of Man” exhibition at the Museum of Modern Art, the first to observe hundreds of humans in their universality.

Directed and photographed by Misan Harriman, with additional photography by Domizia Salusest, the interactive campaign presents intimate black-and-white portraits of 100 different people, ages 1-100, from many countries, with additional audio accounts of what they’ll be facing in the day to come.

Despite all contemporary stressors, the campaign is about renewal -- and what the ritual of having breakfast can do. Naturally, Quaker’s oatmeal provides fuel for a new day, and is sometimes artfully incorporated in the portraiture. But the portraits and stories are the point, and they’re fresh and moving and not at all corny.



"The campaign celebrates everyday people who awaken the potential in others on the days that matter most,” says Ciara Dilley, Quaker's global vice president of marketing, in the release.

“Misan Harriman was the perfect choice to lead this because of his innate ability to capture the authenticity of human connection, which is truly the sentiment behind this project," Dilley adds.

Harriman, a Nigerian-born British photographer who calls himself a “storyteller and social activist,” shot some of the most widely shared photographs of key moments in the Black Lives Matter movement. 

 "For Quaker…. to allow us to go to people's homes and really observe them as they live adds a layer of authenticity that always comes through in the lens,” he says in the release.

Indeed, it’s like a living documentary, and some of the portraits just pop off the screen, I love that though the very youngest ones can’t speak for themselves -- their parents do -- they get equal ranking. Overall, it’s fascinating to see how the discourse changes as the subjects age. And the team found some mighty interesting subjects and situations.

Adam, the adorable 1-year old at the start of it all, has a big day ahead of him: He’s about to be the ringbearer for his parents’ wedding. He has no idea of that agenda, of course, but his natural joy, sitting over a bowl of oatmeal, is palpable.  He has the cutest smile and baby teeth, too.

His dad says, “I hope he actually brings the ring to us, but you never know.” Mom adds, “or he walks off with it.”

Lyra, 4, who can talk, excitedly tells us about going on her first-ever airplane flight that day, and the video game she’ll watch about dragons. She ends with “The best thing in the morning is having a cuddle for my mommy.”

Enrique, 70, pictured on his sofa with a cup of coffee, is giving his daughter away in marriage that day. “Some elements of today are a little difficult for me,” he says, “but I’m happy that she’s entering this new stage of her life. She has leaned on me a lot because we’ve always been a very close…family. If I was giving myself words to get through the day, I would say, ‘I have been a good father, supportive of my daughters and that’s all that matters.’”

Joan is the oldest subject, at 100. But from her super-smiley, sprightly pose, you’d never know.

She says she’s going to have a big party, with friends and drinks.

“I’m still dancing today,” she says. “I don’t dance well, but I’ve got a very nice partner who makes sure I don’t fall over.  And last week I did a jive, which was wonderful. So, my tip is ‘make sure you’ve got something to get up in the morning for.’”

I’d say that Quaker’s “100 Reasons to Rise” itself supplies another reason.

Next story loading loading..