“An entertainer wants to give you exactly what you want… And an artist wants to give you what you don’t know you want.”– David Cronenberg
This week, I’d like to tell you about my favorite commercial of all time.
I remember where I was when I first saw it, too. I was in a movie theater in Singapore (ironically, I can’t recall which movie I was seeing at the time), and during the previews and trailers preceding the feature film, this ad played:
Even watching it now, I still get goosebumps. Part of it is the perfect use of Flume’s You & Me remix, but most of it is in how much I find myself relating to the video’s male protagonist: being in that vulnerable position, hesitating, putting everything on the line, and finally taking that huge risk without knowing how things will turn out.
As the duo floats in the air and their lips finally connect, I feel this rush of exhilaration envelop me. Then the tagline finally appears: “Life is a Beautiful Sport”.
Truth be told, I’d been pretty ambivalent about Lacoste before this. But after this commercial, it made me want to throw money at the company just to thank them for the feeling that their ad had given me.
There’s a saying by Maya Angelou:
“I’ve learned that people will forget what you said, people will forget what you did, but people will never forget how you made them feel.”
This can happen through any medium. Film, music, fine art, performance art, radio, poetry, magic, and of course… Cardistry.
Think about how and why you got into this. It wasn’t a measured, logical decision:
“I do hereby believe that attaining a particular aptitude in this niche art form shall benefit myself in the long run as it pertains to increasing my personal value as an artist and a human being.”
You got into this because you saw a performance of Cardistry that gave you such a strong feeling that you were inspired to pick it up yourself.
And that feeling is contagious.
4 years ago, as Huron and I were walking to the train station after doing some planning for what would become Liquid Paper, we talked about what our goals were for the video. In essence, we agreed that we wanted our video to do for new Cardists what Dan and Dave’s Spring Jam had done for us: to immerse the viewer in this mind-blowing new world of what is possible with a simple deck of cards.
Later that year, I found myself in London with some time on my hands before meeting up with some magician friends of mine. As I strolled the sidewalks of a busy street, I saw a homeless girl sitting down outside a storefront with a sign that said, “Even a smile helps.”
I felt for her. I reached into my pocket for some spare bills, but something told me that I should talk to her, ask her how she was doing, you know – engage with her as a real person instead of just a public tip jar.
So we got to talking, exchanging pleasantries (turns out she was Hungarian), and eventually I said something along the lines of, “hey – would you let me buy you a cup of coffee?” She agreed, and so we headed to a nearby cafe to continue our conversation.
After talking a bit more at the cafe, she eventually asked me what I did. I told her that it’s a bit hard to describe, but that I could show her. So I pulled out my laptop and headphones, and set it up for her so she could watch the video while I went to fetch our coffees.
When I returned to the table with a cup in each hand, the screen was black and she turned to me with tears in her eyes:
“In my language, we have no words for this.”
Whoever you are, wherever you are, I hope you’ll one day receive as fine a compliment as this for the feelings you give to others.