5 Commercials That Somehow Actually Inspire Greatness... Sad but true.

Ninety percent of anything is crap. Movies, music, books, comics... and commercials. But when a commercial delivers something meaningful? It sticks around long after it stops airing. Check these out:

Nike's "Courage"

Normally, the Killers drive me nuts, but someone amazing was able to combine these wanna-be Springsteens with Michael Moore's favorite shoe company to create something... well, important. Never give up, baby!

Apple's "Think Different"

Whether you're a fanboy or a hater, it's hard to deny that Apple takes great care to craft its message. You may expect to see Pablo Picasso or Albert Einstein in a commercial that extols genius and original thought. But Jim Henson and Muhammed Ali?  It's not only relevant and true -- it's inspired.

"Charity: Water with Jennifer Connelly"

I love this bit because it tells a whole story in all of one minute, six seconds. And the production is awesome. And Jennifer Connelly doesn't need a movie to rock it. But more importantly, the message hits home in a society that can't even begin to relate to the most important issue faced by most Third World countries.


I love how Corporate America can combine someone's fleeting wish to somehow "give back" with our all-to-real need for self-gratification. Check out how (Red) switches the "Me" to "We" -- freaking genius. Emphasizing how little you have to give to make a difference adds to the effect. Makes me feel good to shell out a couple bucks to save lives while satisfying my caffeine addiction.

Coca-Cola's "I'd Like to Teach the World to Sing"

C'mon, admit it, you dig this feel-good commercial that encourages tolerance, unity and love. Serenading television audiences in 1971, it remained a signal that Christmas was near for years. I particularly love that when the South African government asked Coca-Cola to reshoot it with an all-white cast, the company refused. Corporate values don't generally equal human values, but when a corporation can stand up for the right thing, it can't help but make you think the world ain't so bad after all.

dudedrama dudedrama
36-40, M
19 Responses Sep 29, 2009

I'd personally say that I find Nike's "Failure" commercial more inspiring than "Courage", if for no other reason than the fact that it's got a more coherent narrative. Yeah, we get a lot of flashes of inspirational things in Courage, but all its depth is from inherent images--things it reminds us of rather than elements of a story that we don't know.<br />
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Of course, they're both brilliant.

The Coke commercial makes me cry - feel good stuff does that to me.

I've always really loved that Coca Cola teach the world to sing commercial. Good collection!

My buddy Neil once sent me a commercial with all these young guys doing famous Michael Jordan basketball moves - that was awesome, maybe an addition for next time!<br />
p90x workout program

The commercials are great.....BUT!<br />
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It's kind of annoying when people who DON'T achieve anything great compare themselves to people who do. What exactly did NIKE do that "shocked" the world for being bold, inspiring or original? Did Nike unionize its workforce? Save the rain forest? End child labor in China? It's just weird when companies that are as status quo as they come (Coke, Nike, Apple) compare themselves in a self-aggrandizing manner to people like Martin Luther King or Lance Armstrong.<br />
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"Sometimes those 'crazy' people who think they can change the world....actually do!"<br />
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Um, but you didn't change a damn thing. You're still a multi-billion dollar international outsourcing all its labor to 3rd world countries that exploit their workers.<br />
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So the only people that are supposed to be "inspired" by these messages are people like us --- the companies themselves (apparently) don't believe their own 1min 30sec bullshit because they slavishly maintain the status quo!

I remember these commercials and the coke one is still one of my all time favs.

Nike's MOVE commercial (aired during the 2002 Olympics) deserves some mention. By far my favorite commercial. <br />
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http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=G4Yn9eWgNmk<br />
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I have no problems with placing importance on a "GAME"; whenever somebody knocks the role of sports in North American culture, I always think of Jesse Owens.

Thanks! You are really doing something worthwhile here!

This is a commercial that inspires greatness for me:<br />
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I love the way anything that is positive can be inspiring and the other way around too. I think its soo important to get involved and do our part

@EPJulio, yeah, I really love that Nike commercial -- we're totally on the same wavelength. The one for CharityWater one here is awesome too. Another great Apple one is the Big Brother one!

these are so awesome. My buddy Neil once sent me a commercial with all these young guys doing famous Michael Jordan basketball moves - that was awesome, maybe an addition for next time!

There's a beautiful story from one of our members who shares how Apple's 'Think Different' commericial touched his son who has a disability.<br />
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Check it out: <a href="http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/Want-People-To-Think-Different/437613" target="ep_blank">http://www.experienceproject.com/stories/...</a>

Wow-I love these! The Jennifer Connelly/Water video is my favorite!

These are great! A couple are amoung my very favorites. <br />
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It's amazing the emotions a short clip can bring out.

There is no one better than Coke at managing its brand awareness. Amazing what those guys did (and still do) to keep what is nothing more than sugar water cool, relevant, and even exciting year after year. Nice post!

Perhaps I am a ***** for a good commercial! I love all of these. All of them.<br />
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But perhaps I am blinded by the beauty of Jennifer Connelly. I have been crushing on her since Jim Hensen's "Labrynth"<br />
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Cool post, duderama!

I'm going to try to keep this as short as I can. <br />
1) Nike. They're good but it just bugs the heck outta me 'cause you know they're making huge bucks off their name brand attire yet are getting away with only paying pennies a day (?) to the Chinese factory workers making the attire. Bring the jobs back home & share the wealth. <br />
My other huge Pet Peeve about any sports type thing is that we as a country pay these sports pla<x>yers such huge amounts of money to play a "GAME". We have homeless, starving people in this country that in my opinion should come first. How can we justify paying some schmoe 60 million dollars yet can't feed a homeless person? That just doesn't make any sense to me. Our whole system is so out of whack it blows my mind. I could go on but I'll spare you. I think you get the drift.<br />
2) Apple always does good thought provoking commercials. <br />
3) Charity Water - A very good commercial. Once again though - we have our own people living in This country who have to live in 3rd world conditions. They haven't any running water, electricity we bury our nuclear waste on their lands. These places are called Native American Reservations. The Original, First Peoples of this country have been (pardon the ex<x>pression) bent over & raped by the U.S. All the treaties that we tricked them into signing-we've never once kept our word and done what was signed on in each and every treaty! These are the forgotten people of this country. People assume that since a few tribes are doing ok by having Casino's or some other type of income that they're all doing well. Not true. Check out some of the Reservations in South & North Dakota. 3rd world conditions there. No heat in their homes except a wood burning stove, cracks in the walls that the wind howls through on freezing winter nights & days. Most of the "officials" running the Reservations are as corrupt as they come. And that includes the politicians that know what's going on on the Reservations. <br />
I'm all for helping anyone in need but shouldn't we take care of the people in our own country first? Help to make these Native People the Proud, Honorable People they should be instead of hiding the truths & keeping them down! This obviously is a Huge Pet Peeve of mine. I'll get off my "Soap Box" now.<br />
4) Starbucks - Great commercial & idea. I do have to wonder, with the prices they charge per cup of Coffee or Tea why they couldn't offer 10 cents instead of 5 cents. They make a lot of money they can afford it. Maybe even ask the consumer to match each dime they donate, then they'd be able to double what's being donated? Sheepishly climbs back on "Soap Box" momentarily. Why can't companies do the same for our Native Peoples too? Thanks to our types of foods introduced to the Native Peoples they've been suffering from a lot of health issues. Diabetes is a huge problem for them because of our introduction of processed Sugars an the like. Sorry, just had to add this in here. I'm off my "Soap Box" again. <br />
5) Coca Cola - I remember this ad from when I was young. Yes, I'll admit, I'm old. I've always loved this ad, the idea behind it and the song. It's all good. <br />
Sorry for the length of this comment. Thank You for the thought provoking morning!

I actually was in a class where students used that Apple commercial as part of their lecture... and the weird thing was that it worked perfect.<br />
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I feel cheesy saying this... but all of these really ARE inspirational. Good collection.