World’s best ads ever #41: Pantene reaches cinematic heights with ‘Chrysalis’
We asked our readers to vote for their favorite commercials of all time. Top creatives from the World Creative Rankings and The Drum’s Judges’ Club then ranked the ads. Now, we bring you the definitive 100 best TV and video ads of all time.
Many western marketers may not have heard of Thai director Thanonchai Sornsriwichai, but as Andrew Lang told our readers a few years back, Sornsriwichai is “hands down the best commercials director in the world”.
Top of Sornsriwichai’s credits is Pantene’s ‘Chrysalis’, a four-minute epic about a deaf girl re-learning to play the violin despite bullying and family troubles.
Made in 2008 by agency Grey Thailand, it’s pretty much as far as you can get from shampoo ads’ route one – a smiling celebrity with glossy hair. ‘Chrysalis’ is emotional metaphor-based advertising taken to its extreme.
Marketing a shampoo called Chrysalis, the ad shows the girl endure bullying and abuse before finally playing a concert with her broken violin. Intercut at the end with footage of a butterfly emerging from a chrysalis, the ad’s message is clear: hardship is hardship, but flourishing can follow. Its closing tagline sums this up (while bringing us back to shampoo): ’you can shine’.
Playing out to the sound of Pachelbel’s Canon in D, which is right up there with the most overused music in advertising, it is testament to the ad’s quality that it is able to bring out the piece’s emotional power.
The shoot, in the suburbs of Bangkok, reportedly took up to six months to complete. And the ad is so cinematic that when it started collecting awards, it often did so not as a commercial but as a short film: it won, for example, a Silver World Medal at the New York Festival.