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Just goes to show that you can get raw, honest emotion into ads and change the way brands are perceived without having to conform to the generic or the expected. One of the people I sent this to actually cried, really great stuff from Bell’s.

Bell’s whisky just released a heartwarming new commercial that is, by our estimation, the most inspiring ad of the new year.

The ad tells the story of a graying South African man who, despite his advanced age, is determined to learn how to read. Viewers see the man look longingly at a bookstore display case before an incredible montage documenting his tireless journey.

We follow the protagonist as he takes the first steps toward literacy, learning the alphabet in an adult education class and labeling the items in his kitchen. Later, we see the man struggle to achieve his goal, as the camera captures nights spent outside reading by porchlight and the confused look that follows a mistake in a game of Scrabble.

Slowly but surely, the man’s reading improves, and the ad delivers its extraordinary emotional payoff — right as the music hits its stirring crescendo.

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