Tuesday, August 23, 2005

tear jerks

you know that feeling you get when you're watching tv and your friend/brother/roommate/dog has gone to the other room during a commercial break to get a snack/answer the phone/go to the bathroom only to come back and catch you sniffling/choked up/wiping away tears?

yeah, that's when you know you've been suckered by a commercial.

we've all been there, denial or not. it doesn't happen to me often, but when it does, i'm stunned. today i was watching one about a girl getting ready for her wedding. some not-bette-midler was cooing 'wind beneath my wings' over the montage, which kept switching from the girl and her father in present day (her fussing with her hair, him hanging lamps in the banquet tent) to them when she was young (him picking her up in the back yard). At first i was like, eiw cheesy, especially during the 'did you ever know that you're my hero' part. but dammit, that freaking commercial got to me. i guess it was something about how the little girl's long hair was just a little bit messy and blowing around in the wind and how the dad took her hand as they walked. if those people were brown it could have easily been taken from a shot in our family photo album.

but even then i was still okay. right until the moment when the girl is dancing with her husband at the reception and sees her dad, then comes over to ask him to dance. but as they're getting up and walking to the dance floor, instead of showing them in present day, they show the little girl and her daddy again. suddenly, my vision was blurry.

freaking advertising. but the thing is, it works. i remember perfectly well that the daddy paid for his little girl's wedding through Chase Financial. who knows about that company. all i know is that their ad agency is good.

some other adverts that get to me?

* the lifesavers one from long ago where the kid proposes to the girl and she says, 'where's my ring? a lifesaver?' and he says, 'don't worry; we can live with my mother.' no tears, but that's just so damn sweet. and honest.

* the gap commercial from a few years back where ballet dancer Will Kemp is jumping around in jeans. seriously, there wasn't anything overly complex in the dancing, but for some reason, whenever that commercial was on, i found myself unable to tear my eyes off the screen. not even for the phone. (which is shocking for 2002.)

* and the one that hands-down takes the cake -- the deBeers new year's eve spot. they're in crowded Times Square, but as the ball is dropping, parts of the crowd keep vanishing until they're all alone at midnight, when he opens that velvet box.

no wonder, as a profession, advertising can boast one of the highest stress rates. there's got to be a lot of pressure coming up with this stuff.

but hey, when it works, it works.

25 comments:

DCveR said...

Nope. That doesn't work for me.

Only two commercials stirred me so far:
Blind people fund raising, here in Portugal - black screen and the sounds of the 'tricky' bits in a blind person's day.

Cancer relief fund raising, in Spain - Little girl is alone at home and starts cutting her own hair. Parents arrive with younger boy wearing baseball cap. Little girl runs downstairs, parents gaze at her hair cut, little girl offers younger bro her hair, little kid takes of baseball cap showing shaven head and radio therapy marker lines on his head.

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Jen said...

Wow I've never had an advert get to me that way. I cry in plenty of movies and most look at me with an expression that clearly reads: What are you doing?!
or they just say "er....are you...alright??"

angel07 said...

Ok, I am totally with you on this. I was getting ready yesterday morning and the Chase wedding commercial came on = me teary-eyed trying to put makeup on.

Another good one was back in the day where the kid brings home a hallmark card from his teacher. It was a card to thank the mom for raising such a good kid. The kid stayed inside during recess to be friends with a sick kid who couldn't play outside. It's great because the mom is getting all teary and hugging her kid so hard he can't breathe...and you want to laugh but you can't because you are all choked up! *tear*

lucasjackson7 said...

man, i hate those spam bloggers. quit smoking now! or find a delicious cheesecake recipe! ridiculous.

i always thought the commercial where the couple is standing in the middle of the crowded square somewhere in europe and the guy screams out, "i love this woman" a bunch of times so that she knows he's borderline pyschopath stalker, don't-you-ever-leave-me type and then hands her the engagement ring. and then she whispers, "i love this man." fade to black. cute commercial. it's the eccentric ones that get me.

Lia said...

i don't usually get teary over commercials, but i do appreciate the tremendous artistry in getting people to watch. marketing people have to be brilliant psychologists.

Pyschic Pimp said...

Cadiz, you know I am with you sista! I so remember that Lifesavers commercial! Angel07, I know exactly which commercial you are talking about and it gets to me too. But my fave one is a commercial for the internet. School bus packed with kids pulls up to mom and son. Mom is signing, telling her son good luck on his first day, etc. Kid on bus watches them. Little deaf boy gets on bus all scared and alone. After school kid from bus goes on internet and looks up sign language. Next morning signs to deaf boy that he can sit with him. Ah! Just makes me all teary!

Guyana-Gyal said...

I wrote ads for 5 years. And I learnt to appreciate it as a craft. I also got the chance the see some of the best ads around the world, and hoooo boy, there are some brilliant works out there.

The secret is to know the people you're writing for, and how to reach them.

Lou (a.k.a. rainpuddles) said...

I can't think of any specific commercials, but I've caught myself teary eyed more than once watching commericals.

Lisa said...

"It's Joe Albertson's Supermarket, but the Meat Department is Mine"

(Old commercial sung by a butcher in the meat department with a funny hat on)

Well on Sunday, my boyfriend had an outburst and cheerfully belted that song out when we passed up an Albertson's the other day.

It didn't make me cry, but it struck me funny that he would remember a commercial from that long ago. Don't know if anyone has heard that one or not.

cadiz12 said...

DCveR: i love how the fundraising ones have such thoughtful commercials. that haircut one must be so touching.

Anonymous: stop plaguing my blog. GD SPAM!

Jen: welcome! i try to let the tears roll down silently in the movie theater, but inevitably it gets really uncomfy when they hit my neck so i have to wipe them off and call attention to the fact that i'm a sap.

07: i totally remember that one! mostly because my mom turned to me and said, 'see. the best gift i could ever receive would be someone telling me i have a good kid.'

lucasj: i was totally going to have that one on there, too, but i didn't want to give deBeers too much play.

lia: welcome back!

psychicp: nice choice! that one is a classic. isn't teh internet amazing?

ggyal: much respect for you; i know that's one heck of a hard job. i used to write headlines for a long time, and that was tricky business in itself. few people really appreciate how complex making something simple can be.

lou: i'm sure you'll run into one soon.

lisa: welcome. can't say that i've heard that one, but i do happen to have 'let's go out to the kitchen' in my head (you know, the one with the dancing milk, cheese and crackers) 'to have ourselves a snack!' i think that's pretty oldschool, too, and they play it in the movie theater now.

DCveR said...

Maybe I can get a way of showing it to you.

Ale said...

ok, you know how you go over to someone's blog... and you read and you're like this is cheesy... and then you CRY!!! :)
heheheh

when i started reading your post i was about to start making fun of you horribly, until... i got teary eyed too! ohhhh boy-

that commercial about ikea, how they throw out a little lamp and get a new on at ikea makes me sad!

;)

Lou (a.k.a. rainpuddles) said...

I doubt this ever aired outside of Canada, but being a Canadian this has to be my favourite commericial:

http://www.videoclipstream.com/akamai/therant/rant.html

Check it out@

Fresh? said...

that gecko that sells insurance makes me cry every time.

Syar said...

I'm taking the principles of advertising this semester. i know we're just students, but reading this, I know the pressure's on.

here where I am, there's this gas company named Petronas and they come up with the best seasonal ads. (i've even done straw polls from other people and they agree too)

there's this one where there are two boys (one's malay and one's indian, all malaysian ads like to keep telling us we're mutlicultural, like we didn't already know) and they show the indian kid drowning and the malay kid saving him and both going home to their moms who are cooking in the kitchen. then they're a little older, and the malay kid gets beat up or something like that, and the indian kid saves him, leading him home all bloodied and bruised to their moms who are washing clothes in the back. Then they're all grown up, and the malay kid shows up at the door after an obvious trip and the malay mom hugs him. The indian mom is smiling behind her, looking over her shoulders, looking for her son, who should be with his best friend, like always. there's this sappy music playing. she looks worried and asks "where's muthu/ravi/sami/I don't remember the son's name?" and there's this pause and you're like "OMG! HE DIED!" the tears are about to come when the son steps out from behind the piano where HE was playing the sappy song and goes to hug his mother and look with love and warmth at his best friend.

that was a sweet one.

omar said...

I'm quite sure I never cried watching a commercial. However, that episode of Fresh Prince of Bel Air, where Will's real father comes and then unexpectedly leaves, and Will's like, "how come he don't want me?" to uncle phil....

I'm sorry, gimmie a minute.

Ale said...

those european commercials for durex condoms are always inspirational--

willowtree said...

I remember the first time I cried watching a commercial. You couldve knocked me over with a feather. I was shocked, and even mad at myself for the rest of the day. I was going through a really, really rough time though.
Funny enough, it was a tissue commercial, puffs or something like that.
I cant watch that commercial you were talking about, if it comes on I change the channel.

cool cat said...

OMG the same girl and her father commercial has gotten to me too.
...but your little profile quotes you put up do that to me too...this last one especially...

if i had a blog i might put this:
"Finish the fairy tale
that you werent drunk enough to start"

Ale said...

oh, i like that cool cat! do it!!!

omar said...

cadiz, who do you think you are, jon? where are you?

Gloria Glo said...

I love commercials. Not enough to watch them...but I'm all about the concept. Nice post as always, 'Diz.

cadiz12 said...

omar, i AM jon. muahahahaaahaha.

haven't you noticed he's actually been posting lately -- and choosing some very topics, if i do say so myself.

'ka said...

i never get teary during those commercials, but i do agree w/ the chase ad...

pressure working in advertising is not fun at all, but the people 'n the environment are so much fun :)