Wednesday, November 22, 2017

My Top 10 Favorite Television Commercials

Since most of my screenplays are based on TV commercials, I figured I'd rank my top ten favorite TV commercials I've ever seen. Many, if not most of these, have made me cry, but very few seem to have the magic touch that results in a screenplay.

10. "The Camp Gyno", Hello Flo
This ad for women's hygiene products may be a little disgusting because it uses words like "vagina", "menstruation", and "period", but its unrepentant usage of those terms isn't what I like about it. It's the unstoppable girl characteristics and assertiveness the girl (Macy McGrail) shows in her leadership role. That enough sealed the deal.

9. "This Girl Can", Sport England
This ad is aimed at getting girls to exercise and, to an extent, avoid the false perceptions that come with their body's shape and size. Yet another emotional "femvertisement" that really made me emotional, yet I did not cry.

8. "Real Beauty Sketches", Dove
This ad was meant to show that a person sees themselves negatively and focuses on their flaws, while others are capable of seeing the good in them. It went viral in 2014 and is considered the first of the recent trend in "femvertisements".

7. "Imagine the Possibilities", Barbie
This ad asks "What would happen if a girl could be whatever she imagines?" and shows girls fantasizing about doing stereotypically male jobs. You're noticing a trend here, I'm guessing. It's hard to believe even Barbie, long considered an ambassador of negative female stereotypes, is getting in on femvertising.

6. "Daughter", Audi
This Audi 2017 Super Bowl commercial tells the story of a father who is worried that the skills of his daughter will be valued less simply because she is female, but sees his doubts erased when she takes the checkered flag in a go-kart race. There's a pretty big gap between those who liked and disliked this commercial, and I definitely liked it.

5. "I Will What I Want", Under Armour
Here, a young girl (Raiya Goodman) reads a rejection letter Misty Copeland, the world's most celebrated ballerina, got at age 13, while Copeland dances for the camera. The effect is astounding, and even boosted Under Armour's sales to women over tenfold.

4. "Inspire Her Mind", Verizon
Actress Reshma Saujani narrates this ad as a mother who wants her daughter to grow up to be "pretty". The girl is drawn away from a STEM career because of her mother's urging. This ad communicates a message of a field that needs more girls, and furthers the "future is female" mantra.

3. Any Target Christmas commercial from the past three years.
These commercials feature kids, talking Target toy aisle staples, and Twizzler octopi (occasionally), and I like them because the acting performances by the kids (Shiloh Nelson, Olivia Trujillo, and Bobby Sloan starred in the 2015 "Holiday Odyssey" campaign; Kylie Cantrall starred alongside John Legend, Isabella Russo, and Chrissy Teigen in the 2016 "Toycracker" campaign) are top notch - almost as good as the performances of the kids in "E.T." These kid actors are the kind you'd want in front of a crowd to deliver the right message, even if the message isn't "buy this at Target".

2. "Like a Girl", Always
Directed and voiced by my idol Lauren Greenfield of Chelsea Pictures L.A., this ad asks, "What does it mean to do something 'like a girl'?" To young girls, it means to do their best. To everyone else, it means to do poorly. You just have to experience it, the way I did on Super Bowl Sunday 2015 - and I ran into another room bawling and watched no more of the big game that year. This commercial also partially inspired my screenplay "Fearless Girl".

1. "The Wish Writer", Macy's
The ad that I adapted into a screenplay last year at Christmas. The ad that started my career as a screenwriter. The ad that tells the instantly classic story of a girl who acquires a magic pencil, uses it to do good deeds for others, and finds her good heart rewarded when her brother uses it to get her a gift she'll never forget. This ad stands out among other Christmas stories because it blends reality and fantasy perfectly and shows kids at Christmastime as they really are.

And it was an ad I'll never forget. This list may change, for as Master Yoda says, "Difficult to see....always in motion is the future."



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