Two commercials by strong, global, reputable brands recently succeeded to cut through my usually critical and advert-sceptical mind and touched a cord in me. It’s Levis and Bupa that got my full attention with using dance as a tool to convey meaningful messages and make an impact.
As a passionate dance lover and dance wellbeing promoter, naturally I appreciate and applaud these companies for highlighting both solo and community dancing to tell important human stories. Kudos to Levis and Bupa for being empowering, understanding and resonating with core human values and needs of today’s day and age. Below is why these ads touched a nerve in me, and why I think it will touch yours. I’d love you to let me know in the comments if they speak to you too, and if yes, how.
Levi’s ad - one of the top ten most watched ads in 2017
What thoughts have been crossing your mind when watching this ad?
It’s no surprise this ad has been popular (almost 24 million views) - its the beat, the images, the happy feeling you get when you watch it. More than that - it perfectly tells the story of inclusion, adversity, acceptance and empowerment, the subjects that matter to us and most of us want to see more progress of today.
I love how it celebrates both individual expression and community through movement, which is incredibly powerful, and that their message is all about joy, energy and togetherness crossing countries and cultures. Levis is totally right saying “its time to live how we dance”, don’t you think?
I’ve been great with my individual expression since childhood, but when it comes to community or partner dance, its only recently that I got to experience the feeling of it! Watching this video made me realise, that if I didn’t make a conscious decision five years ago to connect with another human being in close embrace I wouldn't have known how it feels to be a part of the community circle, beautifully connected through dance.
In January 2013, I joined Salsa classes at Pineapple, a few weeks later ended up at “Inspiration to Dance” Ballroom & Latin club (I even ended up performing in public three months down the line - talk about fast progress when inspired by the community!) and Ceroc dance parties in May that same year. I am glad that I never stoped, as it is so rewarding.
At the public performance, I'm on the left in the centre, against Victoria Wilton, the founder of Inspiration to Dance
What community dance has taught me
I dance holding hands, often in very close proximity, in tune with the same rhythm with men age 20 to over 60. I dance with white, black and mix race gentlemen. Tall, shorter than me, chubby and slim. I dance with women too.
I ‘break the rules’, and I dance on my own while everyone else either dances with partners or watch, sit and wait to be invited to have the next dance. I dance with rich, way too early retired bankers, successful or struggling business owners, employed and unemployed, pensioners. I dance with gay men, single and married men, whose wives dance with my other half. In fact, just like my grandmother, I met my man on the community dance floor as well, five years ago.
Dancing in a community, I find, unites and bonds people tremendously. It removes barriers, judgements, racism, inequalities. It gives humility, understanding, love, builds confidence and brings a lot of happiness. Shared moments together connected through music, rhythm, movement and a non-verbal beautiful and free human connection I think are priceless in this massively disconnected world. So there are plenty of reasons to dust off your dance shoes and look for a community based dancing classes or parties in your area. I promise, it will be worth it.
And surprise surprise, I actually wear my Levis jeans to the dance floor a lot - they allow me to move freely and, admittedly, they also flatter my figure (he he he). It’s a total coincidence, but having connected all the dots, it makes me love Levis brand even more!
It’s time to give Bupa some air time now
Have you seen this ad on TV recently? It's been watched by almost 34,000 people on Youtube. That’s a totally different kind of dance here, isn't it? Bupa takes it solo and encourages to own the dance floor.
Actress Suzann McLean plays a recovered cancer patient dancing to 1967 soul classic Pain in my Heart as she realises she has beaten the disease for good. This ad campaign promotes Bupa’s new brand positioning, called ‘For living’, which focuses on helping people get the most out of everyday life.
As soon as I started watching this ad, it deeply resonated with me - I saw myself in the performing woman. I happily and empathetically teared seeing how not only her confidence grew as she began to dance on her own, but also seeing the change that occurred within her as she left her illness and returned to the joy of the dance floor.
Why we should love this video
I think its great to see such a large organisation showing its human side and embracing dance as part of healing, health and wellbeing for cancer patients and survivors. There are so many of us around and dance, after all, is a complimentary therapy giving plenty of health benefits.
It's wonderful that they suggest dancing as an activity to celebrate and enjoy life in a moment too. This melts my heart even if I understand that behind the empathetic message there is a message of selling - gladly promoting an access to the very best care and treatment at the times when its most needed.
"To say that you can't dance is to say you don't have a soul.", said someone who means the world to me. And I agree, so no excuses - let's dance our souls away by yourselves, in pairs or in groups. Let's move that beautiful energy around, it does you good and rubs off onto others too.