I decided to switch off a bit over the Christmas and New Year break. I ate sausage rolls, played with my kids’ toy’s, had a few drinks and watched a lot of TV; including 3 films about a Panda who masters Kung Fu!
The by-product of all this TV watching is TV adverts, and one TV advert in particular caught my eye. No, it wasn’t the ‘monster under the bed’ or the man who would rather pay through the nose for carrots from McDonalds. It was Rightmove’s new commercial called ‘Life’s Steps’. You may have seen it, it’s the one with the elderly gentleman called Graham being called upstairs by his wife. For those of a puerile persuasion get your heads out the gutter for a moment and accept she is calling him upstairs to assist with something entirely innocent.
In all seriousness, what we are treated to is a beautiful and poignant montage of the various journeys he has made up those stairs and for what reasons. We see him carrying a tool kit, breakfast in bed for his wife, carrying the hoover, a bedtime cup of tea in his dressing gown and, in a nod to the time of year, a box of Christmas decorations, all beautifully observed and relatable. While this is going on we see the seasons changing outside the window as we move through his life.
So far so good and I’m bracing myself for more information on how I can purchase a stair lift, then boom! My heart is ripped out of my chest. As Graham makes his way back down the stairs he fades away. The pictures on the wall and furniture disappear. The music stops and we are left with an empty shell of a house. Oh my god…Graham has died. That lovely old man has died.
The door opens and a toddler enters the house heading straight for the stairs; the music kicks up again and Rightmove reveal themselves with the slogan ‘When life moves, make your rightmove’. I’m thinking to myself this is all very nice and I’m happy the young family are beginning their life in this house, but why-oh-why did it have to be over the corpse of Graham? The lovely old man who takes his wife breakfast in bed.
Before I can compose my voice to tell my wife I must have something in my eye, Graham is back! Now living in a bungalow! His wife is still constantly calling him from other rooms but hey, he is alive.
I love how this ad toys with our emotions and makes us invest in the personalities and emotions that actually make a home and uses recognisable signifiers we all relate to. It takes you down a path that leaves you wanting more, unable to walk away from what you are seeing and then holds you until the last possible second before releasing you with a wonderful pay off. A charming and beautiful commercial expertly executed.