Don’t be afraid to be young and free
Monday March 16th 2015, 11:23 am
Filed under: advertising,stephanie fierman

I am so happy to be starting the week talking about an ad I genuinely like!

Delta: On the Road” is a new commercial from Wieden+Kennedy that I think absolutely nails it, and takes risks while doing so.  Here it is:

They get so much right here. The ad captures the sense of dislocation and the exhaustion of international travel without discouraging the opportunity for personal exploration and discovery. The agency styles actor Daniel London as a bit of a shlub, heightening the aura of awkwardness and making moments like when he’s almost hit by a London cab more comical, while still preserving his executive competence. His aloneness is obviously here, but we also see our hero videocalling his family: unmoored, but attached. And, of course, there are the inevitable hurdles like language all around him, but they work in scenes where he seeks to overcome; he gets good service everywhere he goes, and he works to earn it. Good behavior all around.

It’s so hard to communicate vulnerability in advertising without it being either for comic effect or the opposite: serious and uncomfortable. This ad strikes the perfect balance: we see someone “like us” doing what he needs to do and doing it well, even while managing the little absurdities around us (like whether the traffic moves on the left or the right). And the soundtrack? “Love You” by The Free Design:
  Give a little time for the child within you
  Don’t be afraid to be young and free
  Undo the locks and throw away the keys
  And take off your shoes and socks and run you

The more I see the ad, the more I realize the perfection of the song and its juxtaposition to all this adult world stuff. Now whether a million-hour flight on Delta will be the remedy to all that ails is a different question entirely (you most definitely do not want to “take off your shoes and socks and run you,” even in first class), but – hey – beautiful ad.

Well done.

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