The 2016 Rio Olympics are in full swing and as in many homes across Canada, our television has been on every evening, capturing all the Olympic action. I feel overwhelming pride when I see that Canadian flag hoisted and our anthem played. It was quite a dramatic moment when Penny Oleksiak received gold for the 100-metre freestyle swim. Sadly, I was already in bed fast asleep.
I am personally more of winter games fan myself (because hello? hockey?) but I am very happy to cheer on our 313 participating Canadian athletes. In fact, I’m not much of a TV viewer at all except for sporting events. Well, mostly hockey.
When it comes to the Olympics – summer or winter – there is one event that captures my attention more than any other (ok, besides hockey). It’s the TV commercials. I know the sponsors have produced them with the sole purpose of influencing my consumer habits, but I just can’t help it. They often captivate me and illicit an emotional reaction (which I presume is intended to influence my consumer habits!)
Given that medals are the highest accolade of achievement during the Olympic Games, I thought I would bestow a few medals of my own to the makers of the commercials I have judged (extremely subjectively) to be at the top of their game. Please direct your attention to my podium!
My Bronze Medal goes to our own Canadian Olympic Committee’s production of Ice in our Veins video commercial which suggests that ‘winter makes us who we are’ which I automatically interpreted as ‘hockey makes us who we are.’ Even though it portrays Canada as a hinterland of ice, the photography and transcript make me proud of Canada – and of our Olympians for whom ‘the cold steels [their] resolve and the wind thickens [their] skin.” Go, Team Canada, Go! I believe there’s now a fire in my heart too (or maybe that’s just the Fireball Whiskey).
The Silver medal winner is Visa’s Car Pool to Rio starring athletes from various countries including Canadian synchronized divers Jennifer Abel and Pamela Ware. The whole thing reminds me of the pre-game hockey player carpool round up. It’s perfect – right down to the choice of vehicle which is the most epic hockey mom van ever.
And the fan favourite, as well as my own, for the Gold medal is Proctor & Gamble’s Thank you, Mom. They scored a perfect “10” in my books even before the Rio Olympics when they included the hockey player son and mother duo in the 2014 Olympic commercial airing. My kids aren’t Olympians but it is such a poignant illustration of the dedication of hockey moms – I mean – all moms! Ok, I can’t even talk about it anymore; get the tissues – sniff, sniff.
Even though there are no “Honourable Mentions” in the Olympics, I would give one to Samsung for their series of commercials paying tribute to ‘those who defy barriers’ (like The Chant highlighting Margret Hassan of South Sudan and The Anthem, inspired by the lyrics of many national anthems around the world) and embody the spirit of perseverance. Truly unique!
As we all continue to get our fix of the Olympics – and Olympic commercials – for another week or so, know that the PyeongChang 2018 Winter Games are but a mere 542 days away!
Three cheers for our Canadian Olympians – may they and all Canadians stand tall and proud!
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