State Farm’s “The Following” Encourages Volunteerism

Since being released a few days ago, State Farm’s two-minute film “The Following”, created by DDB Chicago, has racked up nearly four million views on YouTube. It centers on a melancholy man riding on the subway, who sees a pet adoption ad with a dog’s picture. Suddenly, that same dog is sitting right next to him. The pup ends up following the man to work, and we see him going about his day. He encounters a “Support the Vets” ad on Facebook, and then the vet appears, playing with the dog. At lunch, the man sees a news story featuring a young dropout, and then sees the dropout himself. He’s being followed (almost haunted) by those in need, and can’t get them out of his mind. What can he do? Well, the answer comes towards the end of the spot…he goes to a Youth Outreach Mentoring Center to volunteer.

This is the type of ad that seems like it could be polarizing. Many will find it moving and meaningful, while others might see the storytelling as heavy-handed, bleeding heart sentimentality. Honestly, I can see it both ways. But I think the central message, about the importance of volunteerism, is undeniably strong. So what you do think? By the way, the song is a cover of The Chainsmokers’ “Don’t Let Me Down” performed by Joy Williams. Here’s a good article about the spot from Advertising Age.

 

Tuesday Throwback: This Beautiful Bell’s Whisky Ad From South Africa Shows An Elderly Man Learning To Read

I wrote about this one in 2014, and it’s a post I wished got more views, since the ad is just so good. The story of an elderly man learning how to read seems like an odd one for a whisky ad. But this South African Bell’s Whisky spot created by ad agency King James and directed by Greg Gray makes it work beautifully. We see the man slowly learning to read…he makes some mistakes along the way, but sticks with it, buoyed by the kindly support of his wife and friends. The payoff is absolutely triumphant and heartwarming. Here’s the ad, followed by a behind the scenes video.

Coffee-Mate Says To Stir Things Up

I know that I write a blog about ads, but I admit that I skip preroll ads on YouTube when I can. When I want to watch something specific, I want to watch it RIGHT NOW, and not sit through a commercial, regardless of the length. Which is why that Geico campaign was so ingenious. Anyway, sometimes YouTube doesn’t let you skip. That can be a blessing in disguise though, since that’s how I discovered these gems from Coffee-Mate. They’re sweet, simple spots that both feature a bit of a twist ending. The first has a husband reassuring his wife upon her return to the workforce. We then see her true appearance. The second involves a woman (Sharinna Allan) talking to someone unseen about how they can sleep in her bed, but she won’t sleep in theirs. Then, we see who she’s talking to. Aww to both of these.

McDonald’s Tells The Tale Of A Girl Who’s Always Stuck In The Middle Seat

Sitting in the middle seat of a car is terrible. That’s the situation this girl in a McDonald’s commercial, created by DDB New Zealand, always finds herself in. She’s most often wedged between her two rowdy older brothers, but also in between her grandparents, plants/soil, and the dog and a lamp. There is old advantage though…she’s got easy access to the McDonald’s bag in the middle console, and she deftly swipes a fry. The song playing, appropriately enough, is “Stuck in the Middle with You” by Stealers Wheel.

Samuel L. Jackson, Charles Barkley, And Spike Lee Sing “I Will Survive” For Capital One

Simply delightful. The flight attendant is Gloria Gaynor, the original singer of “I Will Survive.” Also delightful is another spot where they eat steaks…on a plane. Though Samuel L. seems less amused.

Haribo Gold-Bears Has A Childish Office Meeting

I found this ad on iSpot.tv, where it’s been getting a huge amount of attention. Interestingly, I can’t find a really good video of it online, so this one will have to do for now. The concept of adult action being dubbed over by children’s voices isn’t particularly novel (Subway did it years ago), but I can see why it’s a popular spot. Like the man (played by Brian MacDougall), I think the red one is “more gooder, cause it tastes like berries.” Haribo Gold-Bears are just as tasty when you’re grown up, and eating a cutesy candy can make you feel like a kid again.

Geico: Caesar On A Caesar Salad Is Surprising

Caesar salad was created by restauranteur Caesar Cardini, who was an Italian immigrant. It has nothing to do with Julius Caesar. Still, it’s amusing to see Julius Caesar deliver dramatic platitudes to befuddled diners. And of course, the lady ordered soup, not salad. It’s reminiscent of Geico’s Marco Polo spot, which also puts a historical figure in the modern day. The actor who plays Caesar is fantastic…he’s played by the interestingly named Time Winters.

 

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