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The best thing about this mildly amusing parody of those “Real People/Chevy” commercials, which have been running endlessly on TV, is that it proves I’m not the only one who loathes the source material. And I do. Unreservedly.

I’m not sure why I (and others) dislike these advertisements so much. On the surface they are but showroom testimonials. Hardly creative but hardly nefarious either.

I suppose it’s the little things.

Like the seemingly random and unaware “real people,” who act surprised and delighted by the appearance of… cars? Gosh, we’ve never seen those before! Yet the curtains lift. Walls part. And lo and behold cars appear. By oohing and aahing, the allegedly unwitting folks come off as witless. Even if a $19,000 dollar Chevy Impala were capable of eliciting such responses, playing the reactions as spontaneous rankles what’s left of my jaded advertising brain.

And how about the ringmaster? Another supposed regular guy, only smugger. Note to Chevy: Being in on a joke that is positively un-funny only makes one complicit to the insult to our intelligence.

Digging deeper (if that’s possible in such shallow material), maybe it’s the adoration for Chevrolet’s commonplace vehicles that vexes me most. Nothing against affordable sedans and efficient trucks. They are the meat and potatoes of America’s roads, and we appreciate them as such. But falling to one’s knees and hugging the bumper, as one character does, is too disingenuous for words. Yes, this would play on, say, The Price is Right after winning one of these vehicles, but merely being shown these cars? And after the pomp and circumstance of so many vainglorious reveals… It’s crummy stagecraft.

I’m guessing from the many executions and frequency of airing that on some level this campaign is selling cars. In which case Chevrolet and its agency, Commonwealth shall have the last laugh.

I’m also aware that on these very pages I’ve written about my reluctance to criticize advertising in purely negative terms, which makes me a hypocrite. Perhaps my excuse for such shameless behavior is the same as Chevrolet’s: I couldn’t help myself.

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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.