ads without products

“For the Greater Good”

with 4 comments

Anybody else obsessively turning from whatever else you’re doing when the TIAA-CREF commercials come on. “There’s a place for us…” And this scene (in the newest iteration of the ad) of a professor guy in a huge lecture hall, out from behind the podium, hands a-punctuating his eloquent and excellent lecture.
Whoa. Little tears well up in the corners of the eyes every time I see it. Started running it during the Olympics, which was a good idea.
(For those of you who don’t know what I’m talking about – maybe every one – TIAA-CREF is the company that handles retirement accounts and the like for universities and other cultural organizations and I guess the medical field as well. They just started a huge ad campaign, featuring images of teachers teaching, nurses nursing, curators curating, etc… )
It’s a facinating ad tactic, playing right in to the academics general sense that 1) he/she is in the biz for reasons way beyond the personal, mercenary and 2) that society never gives us the thanks we deserve.
But the question remains – why in the hell does TIAA-CREF need to advertise so extensively in the first place? Sort of like those defense company ads that run now and again on CNN. I understand there’s bucket of money to be made, but is CNN really the right venue to get this sort of message across?

Written by adswithoutproducts

September 9, 2004 at 11:31 pm

Posted in Television

4 Responses

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  1. So glad to find someone who feels the way I do about that commercial! (and I’m not an academic, just a wannabe, but perhaps that makes it even more moving).


    April 1, 2005 at 8:35 pm

  2. I don’t know why, it’s a gut emotional feeling that seems inexplicable but when I see those commercials and hear that song it makes me want to cry. It’s a mix of childhood memories, thoughts of people who have passed away, just a gamut of feelings. Music can do that sometimes, strike a nerve so deep in your being. That song, “Somewhere”, does it to me, I can’t hear it enough. I have been to the Tiaa-Cref website where all the current versions are playable, it’s riveting.


    April 18, 2005 at 8:18 pm

  3. but who sings the version of “somewhere” in the commercials?


    May 31, 2005 at 1:27 am

  4. David Sylvian sings one version. He was the lead singer of Japan in the ’80s and has enjoyed a solo career for some time. His version seems like it was based on the Tom Waits version.


    June 5, 2005 at 8:59 pm

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