‘Tis the season of good food, good movies, and good commercials.
One of the most memorable commercials from last year’s holiday season was Chevrolet’s “Holiday Ride,” which told the story of a widower and his grown daughter leaning on each other as they grieved their loss during the holidays.
The ad was a tough act to follow, but the auto company rose to the occasion this year with their brand new “The Holidays with Mrs. Hayes” commercial that released on Thanksgiving Day.
If you caught the commercial’s debut on national television during the Giants vs. Cowboys game, you saw the one-minute “express” version—but it turns out the full commercial is a heart-tugging masterpiece that’s really more of an emotional holiday movie wrapped into five minutes.
“Nearly everyone has a Chevrolet story, and we feel fortunate to have genuine connections with so many,” Steve Majoros, chief marketing director of Chevrolet said in a statement. “ We call this our holiday card to America.”
And holiday card, it was:
The commercial opens with an older woman, Mrs. Hayes, sitting in her turquoise 1957 Bel Air Nomad in a parking lot around Christmastime. She tries to start the car a few times to no avail.
When Mrs. Hayes glances into the rearview mirror, she’s instantly transported back to another time entirely. The scene shows her as a young bride sitting in the passenger seat of the same car.
“Are you ready?” a man gently asks.
“I’m gonna miss you,” she says through tears.
As the camera pans, we see the two sitting outside of a military processing center, where her husband is getting ready to leave on deployment. The next scene is of a folded American flag in a cardboard box, telling us that her husband did not, in fact, return “sooner than later” as they had both hoped.
Cue the lump in my throat.
We watch as young Mrs. Hayes moves to a new neighborhood to start over alone after her loss, and all of the moments that come after tell the story of a life well-lived.
Mrs. Hayes grows to become a beloved fixture of her community. She gives gifts to the neighborhood kids, sets out pumpkins for young trick-or-treaters, teaches them to use her imagination, drives a woman in labor to the hospital, and—most notably—teaches a young man, Billy, how to mechanic on her car.
The commercial, while obviously a genius creative move by Chevrolet, is also a reminder of the love that can be found in the midst of even our hardest seasons.
The defining moments of our lives are not the things that happen to us, but what we choose to do with the peaks and valleys.
Even though Mrs. Hayes herself is a fictional character, we can all dig deep to find a little bit of her warmth, compassion, and generosity within ourselves.
Thanks, Chevy, for the reminder of the impact we can make in the world by leading with love in all that we do. That’s the real meaning of the season after all.