The crew at Adam & Eve have a lot of answer for: their emotive epics for John Lewis have sparked a wave of imitators, like this commercial for new-style legal firm Quality Solicitors.
Quality Solicitors is a network of 350 or so UK legal firms, designed to bring demystified legal service to the high street following the passing of the so-called ‘Tesco Law’ at the back end of last year designed to open up the legal profession (the theory being that Tesco would pile into legal services, although there’s little evidence that boss Phil Clarke wants to do any such thing).
This, by Team Saatchi, has all the John Lewis elements, including the discovery of yet another winsome chanteuse, Rachel K Collier, unleashed on Jimmy Cliff’s ‘Hard Road to Travel.’ Many in the legal profession seem to love it (which perhaps shows how much they know about advertising as opposed to the law) and it has racked up a staggering two million YouTube hits.
But it’s as ersatz as it comes. Your heart is meant to miss a beat as the pregnant lady espies the widow travelling in the hearse, who smiles meaningfully at her. Thereby, presumably, illustrating the theme of the ad (let’s hope it’s not a campaign): ‘For Whatever Life Brings.’
This was one of the ads Channel 4 stuffed (to bursting point) into the final episode of the first series of Homeland on Sunday night. And it wasn’t the only one to travel the gloopy emotional route. Plugging solicitors, for heaven’s sake.
It’s not just John Lewis and its imitators in the UK tugging at supposed heartstrings these days of course, the US awash with examples, mainly, it seems, from the car industry. But ads about life and death require a fearsome competence and a large benefaction of taste.
Here’s Jimmy’s version of the song.
Quite a chirpy number really.