February 23, 2018
As the 2018 Winter Olympics wind down in South Korea, those of us who have been watching are left with strong impressions and favorite moments of inspiration. One of aspects of the show that has received little attention is the commercials that accompany the Games. Every Olympic season, a few commercials stand out as entertaining, touching, or impressive. This year included several standout examples.
Many of this year’s commercials focused on diversity and unity. Ancestry cleverly brings both together with their product. They show us great athletes accomplishing amazing feats, without immediately revealing the country they have in common. Where does America’s greatness come from? The answer is more meaningful and less specific than you might think!
This commercial is the most upbeat and cheerful on the list. I love the theme song, Anything I can do, I can do better, adapted for the occasion. It shows us kids from all over the world being inspired to set their goals, work hard, and then top themselves. It’s a fun tribute to the work of current athletes and the inspiration of future Olympians.
The wonderful ethnic, ability, and age diversity caught my eye every time I saw this commercial. To quote from it: “Movement is a human right. It’s something we all deserve, whether we’re taking our first steps or our victory laps.” I fell in love with the idea that we all will experience victory laps in our lives—even if we don’t make it to the Olympics. This quote is paired with pictures of older people doing what they love. I hope my later years look at least a little like that!
Although this video doesn’t include any Olympic athletes or moments, it played several times during the Games. It captured my attention because its message stands out so clearly. In the middle of so many negative news stories and divisive comments online, this commercial shows people coming together to help each other in tragedy and hardship. The song I’ll Stand By You tells it all as you watch footage of neighbor helping neighbor, strangers giving to each other, and generally just the amazing goodness of people. As it says in the commercial, “Our world is full of people looking out for each other.”
The one commercial guaranteed to get me Every. Single. Time. is the ubiquitous “Thank You, Mom” theme that focuses on the athletes’ mothers. It taps into the hope we all have to see our kids achieve their wildest dreams. This year’s video highlights kids fighting to overcome the worlds’ biases and it punches me in the gut. What a powerful message about the unique gifts every person has to offer. This message is true: “Imagine if the world could see what a mom sees.” #LoveOverBias
The Olympic games offer a unique opportunity for world unity. We can only hope that the messages on the playing field and on our TV screen extend beyond the Games themselves.