An Ad for the Ages
Today I will share with you the greatest advertisement of all-time. And please forgive me, for to call the following short film an advertisement is to not do Swiss filmmaker Remi Faillant's masterpiece of brand defining work justice. For lack of a better term I shall name it "An Ad for the Ages," and trust you will agree it a fitting name for such an epic film.
There have certainly been some memorable advertisements over the years....who can forget the first time they heard the Budweiser Frogs, or caught themselves feeling a bit sorry for the Geico Caveman? The Most Interesting Man in the World needs no introduction to most, and Geico has scored another unforgettable hit with their recent string of "Did You Know" commercials, leaving no doubt in the average American consumer's mind as to a possibility when considering car insurance. We do love our advertisements here in the U.S., so much so that we would sooner use the restroom during the game, despite the big drive, for rather we were to miss a scoring play than a commercial premiering for the first time during the Super Bowl.
While the aforementioned ad campaigns are funny, catchy, and certainly do a fine job from a marketing standpoint and cementing brand staying power in the eyes of the American consumer, the greatest advertisement of all-time is not one you will find in the Big Game archives, no, the greatest advertisement of all-time is the above mentioned, little known, 10 minute film directed by Faillant for the luxury Swiss watch company Patek Philippe. No other advertisement has moved me or spoken to my soul quite like "A Mon Fils," translated as "To My Son," and referred to as the latter henceforth. In an era of mindless thirty second spots and odd ball one liners, the thought of a 10 minute "advertisement" may seem odd to most...I find the change of pace refreshing at the core level, and the film explores subjects that tunnel deep into the heart of a man, a destination coveted by a great many number brands but achieved by so few.
Legacy, wisdom, redemption, craftsmanship, value, character, industriousness, virtue...Just a few of the words that come to mind as I watch "To My Son" again for the first time...for perhaps the 50th time. This film speaks to the essence of a man...for
"Yes, I want my sons and grandsons to forget me and the values I have taught them soon after I pass"
was said by no man ever, and if it were, he was certainly not known to me!
More so than any other brand that I have seen, Patek captures the father/son relationship in a way that moves us to buy, and while we may not all be able to afford a high end Swiss watch, we have already bought it in our hearts and minds, perhaps a tougher sell for Faillant and the Patek brand. To win the wallet of a man is one thing...to shake him at the core level is another altogether.
I have thought this film the greatest advertisement of all time for quite a few years now...even more so after my son Eli was born three months ago. "To My Son" was the best before fatherhood...it achieved epic status in my life shortly thereafter! I started a watch fund when Eli was born, and I too will present to him a timepiece many years from now, to mark a special occasion or a new season in life. I pray that he will take these words to heart and understand it is not about the watch, no, it is about the values, wisdom, family, hard work and tradition that accompanies the watch. See the Patek ad below for a teaser into what you will find in the film...fathers and sons out there, I am sure you can relate!
With no further discourse from me...I present to you "To My Son" from Remi Faillant and Patek Philippe...master marketing to the core of man at its finest. Out of sheer respect to the filmmaker and the brand, you simply must allow a full 10 minutes of uninterrupted time as you will want to watch straight through, with no distractions.
Do you relate more to the father or the son? Can you see a bit of both in your life? Fathers, do you have any family heirlooms you will pass on to your son or daughter? Sons...perhaps you start your own tradition when you yourself become a father? Did this film inspire you? Perhaps you too will rectify an error of your youth? Redemption is a strong force uniting father and son...Does the relationship with your father or son need saving? What will speak to the depths of your soul and unite you both? Certainly the divide is not too great that it cannot be bridged. Go forth, and build!