Ad Space – That Folgers Holiday Siblings Commercial

You are now entering Ad Space, a realm of commercials, brought before us so we might examine how they work, and discuss why we both love and hate them so. So it is written …

The Product:
Folgers Coffee

The Promotion:

The Pitch:
We’re the coffee of wholesome family togetherness!

This ad has always been wonderful. Doing sentimentality properly in the course of a one minute ad spot is always a challenge, but, boy! does this one deliver.

I think what sells it is how it’s focused, not on the big emotions, of hugs and reunions and all that. Those are there, and are important, but they’re not where the bulk of its time is spent.

Instead, focus is placed on the mundane details of the scene. Of being awake before everyone else early in the morning, and preparing a cup of coffee while trying not to wake anyone.

We go through the whole process of brewing coffee, from opening the can to scooping the mix to bringing it to a boil to pouring a cup. We linger on the little sights and sounds, on the steam drifting off the freshly brewed cup, on the whispered words between siblings, on people upstairs gradually awakening to the smell. The whole sequence feels almost tactile, like you’re there in the kitchen with them.

That’s what makes the earnest sentiment land. The events feel so real, which makes the characters feel real, which makes the emotions feel real. I’m not normally one for touchy gooey oh-so-sweet ads, but this one does it so thoroughly right, I can’t help but love it.

It’s a wonderful, wonderful ad, easily the best commercial Folgers ever did. It was such a success, it ran every winter for years. Such a perennial classic, they could never even think of remaking it. Certainly not with a much older sister who has distinctly romantic chemistry with her brother …