In the book of Ecclesiastes, King Solomon wisely expressed a universal truth: Life is full of seemingly never-ending toil and trouble.
“All things are full of labor,” he wrote. “Man cannot express it.”
Parents certainly know how the work never stops when it comes to raising children. Yet a new Christmas ad from Bouygues, a French telecom company, is also reminding us of the joy in that work.
The company can claim a proud place among the best Christmas-themed ads from the past. Remember the 1986 Folger’s commercial where a man named Peter surprises his family on Christmas morning, pausing only to brew a pot of coffee with his little sister?
What about the 1993 Cambell’s Soup spot where a shivering snowman waddles his way inside? The sadly frozen creature slurps down a bowl of chicken noodle, and as he eats, his snowy self melts into mush.
At the end of the bowl, we see the snowman was simply a very cold little boy. The Bouygues commercial simultaneously taps into all of the emotions surrounding Christmas, childhood and parenthood.
It opens with a close up of an old cassette tape getting slotted into a stereo. The funky strains of Redbone’s “Come and Get Your Love” issue from it.
The camera cuts to a young father’s grin and then pulls back to show him shimmying and jiving to the music in front of his toddler son. The little boy grins at his dad’s antics.
And then the action abruptly skips forward in time to the man and his now-older son in front of a toy store. The father breaks into dance as the boy smiles at the trinkets behind the glass, still obviously enjoying dad’s moves.
That enjoyment shifts into wry toleration when he’s getting a ride as a teenager. He bobs his head when dad turns the volume up to 19.
But you can tell by just watching that his heart isn’t in it. Indeed, things go downhill from there.
When the teen — no, wait, the man — notices that the song is dad’s ringtone as they enjoy coffee together, he offers only mortified embarrassment. He almost hides his face as the mature gentleman in front of him decides it’s time to cut a rug in front of the entire store.
More years and time passes. The camera pans over a smattering of framed portraits, all of them portraying the boy at various stages of life.
The father and his wife sit reading in front of a Christmas tree when suddenly one of the presents begins to buzz. The confused father, now quite old, opens the gift to discover a new smartphone from Bouygues.
“Hi, Dad,” his son answers in French once the father picks up the video call. “Merry Christmas.”
We see the son holding a child of his own. And then the strains of “Come and Get Your Love” rise once again as both men begin to dance, united by shared history and family ties and a hopeful future.
And that’s the truth of parenting, isn’t it? One generation cycles into the next, and we hope the little lives we raise can appreciate the good things in creation — and some of the silly ones, too.
Truth and Accuracy
We are committed to truth and accuracy in all of our journalism. Read our editorial standards.