252: QUIZ: What can TV commercials tell us about our “Most-Liked” spiritual themes?

his week, we’re examining how spirituality shapes social networks and how—in the other direction—social networks shape our sense of spirituality. So, today, we’ve got a fun quiz about the world’s biggest social network: television. TV draws hundreds of millions of viewers globally and it is sending us spiritual messages all the time.
    No, we’re not talking about UFOs beaming secret code directly into the cerebellum. We’re talking about something as simple as a TV commercial. And, how do we know that commercials have an impact?
    Well, that’s thanks to a sophisticated market-analysis by Nielsen IAG, the “Nielsen ratings” people who claim that they are conducting more than “100,000 surveys daily about the television programs panelists watched the night before.” One type of report Nielsen IAG now releases periodically is a listing of “10 Most-Liked New TV Ads.”
    Some of Nielsen’s “Most Liked” ads, month to month, are simply funny
or clever or have unusual special effects. What’s interesting to us
here at ReadTheSpirit is how many ads wind up beloved by viewers because they include what we would describe as
spiritual themes.
    If you’re trying to keep a finger on America’s spiritual pulse—well,
network TV and big-time advertising campaigns like these are good spots
to take a pulse.


    Here’s your challenge: Below you’ll find 10 brands. Five of them have made it into Nielsen IAG’s “Most Liked” lists in recent months—and they’ve done it with ads that we think have timely spiritual themes in them. The other five brands haven’t made it into that top list of beloved TV ads this year.
   In today’s quiz, you’ve got a pretty good chance because the five ads we’re highlighting were seen by millions of people and made a big enough impression coast to coast to make it into this prestigious set of rankings. So, especially if you’re a TV viewer, trust your instincts on which five to pick.












WHEN YOU’VE GOT YOUR ANSWERS—in the online version of this story, CLICK and you’ll see the Answers pop up. WORD OF WARNING TODAY: In the online version, we’ve conveniently embedded the 5 correct answers as video screens so you can view them right here. If you’ve got a slow connection, that might take a moment for your computer to load—SO we’ve also got direct links to the videos on other web pages, if that’s easier for you.
    READY? If you’re online, click the link below.


Here are five of the brands—out of the list of 10 named in our quiz—that have placed on Nielsen’s “Most Liked” TV commercial lists in recent months. They’re fun to watch and it’s fascinating to think about why the themes in these commercials, seen by millions of viewers, made them especially beloved messages.

BRIDGESTONE—SCREAM: Going green is a theme that’s finally showing up in houses of worship coast to coast. It already ranks among the beloved themes in advertisements this year from subtle imagery and settings in many advertisements—to over-the-top comedy like this ad that began airing during the Superbowl then has been going viral all summer and into the fall, according to Unruly Media. People still are watching this ad online as it spreads through various sites around the world. Click to watch it on YouTube if you don’t see a convenient video screen below in your version of this story.

COKE—80 YEARS of OLYMPICS: The No. 1 “most liked” TV ad from mid July to mid August was a special Coca-Cola commercial highlighting Coke’s 80 years of supporting the Olympics. The ad continues to spread online because it not only celebrates sports heroes—but it also mainstreams Special Olympics athletes. If you don’t see a video screen below to watch the commercial, then this link will take you to a YouTube version with a few Special Olympians’ names added as highlights. That’s part of “going viral” and being taken to heart by men and women—allowing people to add their own personalized touches as someone has in this YouTube version.

DOVE SOAP—GIRLS UNDER PRESSURE: If you don’t see a video screen below in your version of this story, click on this link to jump to BlipTV to watch the ad for Dove soap. This is part of Dove’s campaign, selling soap while encouraging girls and women to feel confident about themselves in all stages of life. Here’s one way that message pays off for Dove—it earned a heart-felt article on Blessed Nest, praising the campaign. Blessed Nest is a green Mom’s friendly support site. Dove is making customer evangelists with this approach to advertising.


GENERAL ELECTRIC—DRAGON: Viewers really enjoyed this advertisement for bio-gas energy—perhaps because of the green theme, perhaps because of the intriguing cross-cultural theme and perhaps because of the fanciful special effects. This video is based on an Asian Web site and should show up in a video screen below. If not, click here to view it on the other Web site.

OREO—GIRL ON A TRAIN: However you feel about Oreo cookies, this film in 30 seconds says everything that needs to be said about initially overcoming the chasms of cultural difference. It starts with joyfully realizing that our basic daily desires are the same around the world. This video is starting to “go viral” online, according to the folks at Unruly Media who track these things.

PLEASE, Tell Us What You Think.
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anytime by clicking on the “Comment” links at the end of each story.
You also can Email ReadTheSpirit Editor David Crumm. We’re also reachable on Facebook, Digg, Amazon, GoodReads and some of
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