New York Life’s Super Bowl LIV television ad is infused with serious emotion. It defines the four kinds of love, as described in the New Testament. The ad will run between the first and second quarters of Sunday’s NFL championship between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers, broadcast on Fox.
In the 60-second spot, there’s a montage of people expressing philia (friendship), storge (familial love), eros (sexual love), and finally agape (charity, in the highest sense, or divine love). It’s pronounced “ah-GA-peh.” That’s the kind of love that motivates acts of generosity and selflessness—like, the ad tacitly suggests, buying a New York Life insurance product.
“Agape is the best,” wrote C.S. Lewis of “The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” fame, “because it is the kind God has for us and is good in all circumstances… I can practice Agape to God, Angels, Man & Beast, to the good & the bad, the old & the young, the far and the near.”
The ad is a component of New York Life’s larger “Love Takes Action” campaign, which will run throughout 2020. The campaign will emphasize integrity and humanity, and the company’s purpose: “To be there when our policy owners need us,” according to the press release.
“The Agápē film recognizes the actions people take every day to protect their loved ones. It aims to remind Americans that they have the power to act on their love, whether through considerable hardships or the smallest and most personal gestures. Fortitude is required to build better futures and we want to celebrate love taking action with our policy owners, future customers, financial professionals, and employees,” said Kari Axberg, New York Life vice president, Brand Marketing, in the release.
This Sunday’s ad will be New York Life’s first Super Bowl ad since 1990. Decades ago, the company ran tongue-in-cheek TV ads staged on the grass of a real outdoor gridiron. A mock “offensive line” wearing “New York Life” uniforms helped the “quarterback”—a bespectacled husband in shirtsleeves—run for a touchdown.
Anomaly led the creative and production for the film, which was directed by Cole Webley of Sanctuary Content. There’s a voiceover by actress Tessa Thompson. She portrayed civil rights activist Diane Nash in the historical drama Selma, starred in the sports drama Creed, HBO’s Westworld, and Thor: Ragnarok and The Avengers.
Max Richter, whose musical interpretation of Agápē, performed by London’s Royal Philharmonic Orchestra, “captures the emotion of each distinct kind of love,” wrote the original score for the ad.
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