Last night, I saw a Chevy commercial that reminded me of what is still possible in advertising. Part of the “Chevy Runs Deep” campaign by agency Goodby Silverstein & Partners, the TVC reunites an old man with his beloved 1965 Chevy Impala SS, a car he had to sell decades ago.
One day, the story goes, the man’s adult sons decide to find the car for him, by hook or by crook. And they do, eventually, at a dealership in Montreal. The commercial plays like a short documentary, highlighting the family’s history with the car, the memories and meaning it held for their father, and of course the search.
In the delightful long version we experience the hunt for the Chevy, as exciting as finding a needle in a haystack. Upon discovery, they buy the car “over the phone.” After excited planning, the family surprises dad with it at a playground in the park. Surrounded by his entire family, we get to see the exact moment Grandpa sees his old car again. Actually, he hears it first. The rumbling. His heart melts as he puts two and two together.
And so did mine.
This is a special commercial, timeless in its appeal. Yet, it’s also contemporary, using reality filmmaking to dramatize the Internet search for an historical item. Shows about discovering lost treasures in pawnshops and storage lockers are of the moment. Finding dad’s old impala plays right into the zeitgeist while being as old-fashioned as America, baseball and Chevrolet. In my opinion, it’s a homerun.
Like dad’s beloved Impala, the commercial also proves that storytelling in advertising need not be lost to the past.