Ever felt restricted by self-doubt? Limited by fear and uncertainty? With ‘The Impossible Dream’, Honda had a mission: compel viewers to pursue their dreams. Be brave, and don’t accept defeat. Emerging from his caravan with a sense of purpose and evocative soundtrack in tow, our handlebar moustached hero begins an epic journey that takes in various landscapes and modes of transport. It’s an adventure for the ages, a huge roar of freedom, an inspirational call-to-arms. The message: YOU CAN DO IT!
Emotive piano keys juxtapose with the ferocity of a wheelchair basketball game. There’s struggle, pain and falls. Yet there’s also a refusal to be brow-beaten by limitations. The voiceover intones “Dedication. Loyalty. Friendship. The Choices we make revel the true nature of our character.” And then comes the twist. As the game reaches its conclusion, all but one of the competitors rise from their chairs. It soon becomes clear that this isn’t so much about disability, but the importance of friendship; the need to support one another. Ultimately, we’re all in it together.
Next up, a syrupy yet undeniably powerful tugger of the heartstrings from Wrigley’s. A young man offers gum as an icebreaker to the beautiful young woman on the bus. She couldn’t possibly take his last piece because it’s just too valuable, so gives him half back as a demonstration of her reciprocal thoughtfulness. There is some smiling and eye contact. He walks off the bus at his stop in the middle of nowhere and sits down dejected in the café, only, lo and behold, she’s followed him. The gum wrapper is reunited in the final scene, just as they are. Now 25-years-old, this TV ad still provides a timely reminder that, in an age where eyeballs are glued to smartphones and communication with strangers regarded as a nigh-on taboo, reaching out to your fellow human can still be the start of something wonderful.
Liverpool Street Station. 11am. Thousands of people going about their daily activities, individuals disconnected. Then, thanks to T-Mobile, something magical happens. Beginning with a small flash mob, a medley of feel-good songs rips out of the station’s announcement speakers and, one by one, surprised members of the public begin joining in. Two minutes later and one of the UK’s busiest stations is overcome by a display of shared happiness – hundreds of people gripped by a contagious urge to enjoy a moment as one. A truly touching and life-affirming moment that reinforces a simple fact: life is better shared.
Introducing the story of Sarah and Juan, a tale of love that spans the trials, triumphs, difficulties and resolutions that come hand in hand with romance. Meeting in high school, the subsequent montage that documents their blossoming relationship highlights the importance of life’s little moments; the beauty that can be encapsulated in a single word, look or touch. Turns out, Juan has been documenting the most profound of these moments since they first met, and exhibits them to an overwhelmed Sarah as part of a very impressive proposal. The key lesson here is pay attention to the little things in life, for it’s in these where its true wonders lie.
Sometimes a TV advertising campaign can be transcendental; taking the viewer to an altogether different place where everyday worries and stresses evaporate in the warmth of something truly beautiful. This is one such campaign, courtesy of Sony and its Bravia TV range. It centres on a San Francisco bedecked with millions of colourful balls; elegantly bouncing in slow-motion through mundane settings to enrich the details we routinely overlook with a perceptible dose of magic. Given added poignancy by Jose Gonzalez’ haunting ‘Heartbeats’, it poetically communicates the point that even the most ordinary and familiar of days can take on a different complexion if we open our eyes to the beauty around us; life has it in abundance – we just have to recognise it.
“Here’s to the crazy ones, the misfits, the rebels…” thus goes the voiceover on this TV advert from Apple, a celebration of genius and thinking outside of the box. Featuring a who’s who of fêted figures from history who, in their own way, have changed its course, Apple’s inspiring ‘Think Different’ campaign asks the viewer a simple question: what do you want to bring to the world? The possibilities are endless; opportunities to make one’s own mark on the canvas we live upon abound. It’s simply a matter of having the conviction in your beliefs, and refusing to be silenced.
A forensic artist sketches ladies from their own descriptions. The women describe themselves with a neurotic humbleness that focuses on and exaggerates negative features while overlooking strengths. They were told to make friends with the other women in the waiting area. Unbeknown to them, these women later had to describe the same new friends, which they did in detailed compliments, describing beautiful features where the owners had seen wrinkles or a chin too big. The message of this high concept advert is clear: we are more beautiful than we think; a comforting thought for anyone at all insecure, which in some way, is all of us.
Life is full of obstacles. It knocks us down, tests us, and shows no mercy. Yet therein lies its beauty; it provides us with the opportunity to overcome, learn and better ourselves. Nike’s eloquent celebration of ‘ordinary people’ – of everyday heroism – reminds us that you do not need to be famous for something to succeed in life, you just need to face it head on, and mould your own destiny. Ending on the refrain “I just want to be me”, it’s a poignant reflection of what makes each and every one of us special.
OK, so technically this is not a commercial, but it was on TV, promoted something, and is packed with feel-good, so we’ve stretched the rules to include it. A combination of David Attenborough and Louis Armstrong’s ‘It’s A Wonderful World’ is enough to produce a grin from ear to ear, but factor in shot after shot of nature at its awe-inspiring best, and we’re reduced to wide-eyed inanimate objects. Why does the ‘Wonderful World’ promo deserve its place? Quite simply, it urges us to recognise the bigger picture; it removes us from the commutes, jobs and responsibilities, and compels us to absorb the sheer spectacle of nature. We should feel very good indeed about being a part of this miracle.