All I Need Is A Miracle

I think this new Verizon ad is the best ad ever. You know the one, set to Mike and the Mechanics‘ “All I Need is a Miracle?” Friggin great. Let’s examine why.

The Premise
Scott and Catherine are a couple in the midst of a spat. Catherine is pissed, and won’t speak to Scott. He’s down, cause he’s really got a thing for her. Scott, clearly not usually a hopeless romantic, is truly bothered and is legitimately scared of losing Catherine, and makes a number of cutesy attempts to prove his devotion and apology. We get a number of glimpses of Scott moping about, strumming his guitar aimlessly, even laying the bathtub.

The Product
The ad is for Verizon. Scott wants back in with Catherine and is trying to get in touch with her. Amongst the methods Scott attempts include calling her long distance, no doubt via Verizon long distance, leaving her Verizon voice mail (17 voice mails, to be precise), calling her from his Verizon cell phone, faxing her a handwritten apology, and e-mailing her photos that she is receiving via her Verizon e-mail on her Verizon DSL connection. Brilliant. You, the consumer, barely even notice this. As you’re enthralled in the backstory.

The Purpose
I don’t know what to think. First off, the acting, at least on the part of Catherine, is pretty decent. I was honestly convinced, based on her eyes alone, in the last shot, that Catherine was hurting. I’m no cheeseball, but I found myself, quite strangely, empathizing with these characters I’d known for about 20 seconds.
Moreoever, All I Need is a Miracle is a great mid-80’s staple. The first few times I saw the commercial, I concentrated on little more than the song. Too many commercial bit-song remakes are done so poorly, and have such a mass-market, bland-voice, generic feel to them. This remake is not so poor, in fact, it’s decent. It works well with the characters.

The Pitch
Why’s it deserving of a few paragraphs of yours and my time? If you’re a writer, you know, it’s damn tough to pack a lot of substance into a little space or time. This commercial, which not only touches on a myriad of products, develops an intricate storyline that lets us know a tremendous amount about two characters in a very short span. The characters are not flat characters, in fact, you empathize with them and secretly and quietly rejoice when, at the end of the ad, Catherine shows up at Scott’s door, seemingly to give him another chance. It’s a play. It’s a complete story. It’s got action, ups and downs, twists, and a resolution with even the suggestion of a bright future for the characters. How many other ads have you seen where you care about the fate of the characters? I can hardly say I care much what happed to the Trix bunny, the kid from Tootsie Roll land, or, God help us, Steven, the Dell dude.

Sure, I could just go on about my life. But with TV like it’s been lately – stupid reality show after reality show – ads like this one are actually better than the programs.

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