Every four years, the nation comes together. No, not for leap year. Certainly not for presidential elections (if anything, 2016 has been one of the most polarizing and contentious years yet). Every four years, we huddle around our TVs and computers, and if we’re lucky enough, in stadiums, for the biggest sporting event in the world, the Olympics. The fanfare theme “Bugler’s Dream” alone brings a smile to my face every time I hear it, as I’m jolted back to the days growing up watching my favorite swimmers and gymnasts bring home the gold. But before I can dissolve into ugly sobs at the first note of the anthem, I settle in for all the great video ads. Although we are still 15 days away from the opening ceremony in Rio, there have already been what seems like countless videos highlighting our summer celebrities. Here are some of my favorites so far.
Channel 4: We’re the Superhumans
This cheery trailer by UK Paralympic Broadcaster Channel 4 features disabled musicians and athletes singing, playing, racing, and training to Sammy Davis Jr.’s “Yes I Can.” What’s noteworthy to me is that this video has accompanying audio describing and signed/subtitled versions. The signed and subtitled one in particular goes above and beyond by featuring an interpreter who actually interacts with the video, changing costumes and props to match the different scenarios. Channel 4’s YouTube channel also contains shorter clips bringing plenty of positivity through its individual “Superhuman Stories.”
Another reason to smile? All profits from track downloads of singer Tony Dee’s rendition of “Yes I Can” will go to the British Paralympic Association.
Under Armour: Rule Yourself
With big names like Michael Phelps, Steph Curry, and Lindsey Vonn now under its wing, Under Armour is starting to prove its own against Nike. This beautifully dark and dramatic spot, set to the haunting “The Last Goodbye” by The Kills, speaks to the lonely nature of competitive swimming. Phelps’ steady strokes down the never-ending lane remind me of my own struggles every semester – fitting, considering the video came out at the beginning of March aka prime midterm season. The video as a whole also reminds me of this great NY Times article detailing Phelps’ journey from dark times and rehab to a more mature and stable place.
Gillette: Perfect Isn’t Pretty
Agency: Grey New York
Before the roaring crowds and flashing lights of the winners’ podium, before the sparkling glint of the gold medal, there is only pain and sacrifice, and it isn’t pretty.
P&G: Thank You, Mom
Agency: Wieden + Kennedy
P&G brings back its touching series “Thank You, Mom,” reminding me that I do indeed have a heart and am not completely soulless.