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Rural Folk and Country Tales

Looking back at the human warmth of some memorable commercials of rural folk and country life, I find to be a pleasant respite at times, from the bonhomie glitziness of glamourised city-life.

Not too unlike I suppose, to one ‘getting away from it all’ by escaping to nature’s bountiful outdoors, for a breather from the artificialities of life.

1. V/Line, Guilt Trips

Advertising Agency: McCann, Melbourne, Australia

Directed by filmmaker Damien Toogood, the insightful concept for V/Line, the Regional Transport Company in Victoria, Australia, centres on the guilt one is made to feel, for not spending as much time with parents as they would like.

Many parents, living in rural Australia, find that once their children have flown the nest for distant city-hub occupations, visit’s back home to see their ‘lonely old folks’, become disappointingly rare.

The commercial is about how one mum amusingly found a solution, guilt. 

Carefully planned for an integrated, multi-media brand promotion, the campaign deservedly won a Cannes Lion Grand Prix for Creative Effectiveness.

2. Vodafone, Piggy Sue

Advertising Agency: FCB, Auckland, New Zealand

The multinational telecommunications company Vodafone, headquartered in London, UK, provides its services to Asia, Africa, Europe, and the Oceania regions.

Directed by filmmaker Steve Rogers, ‘Piggy Sue’ not only stole the hearts of New Zealand viewers but also the hearts of country lovers, animal lovers and vegetarians globally.

Vodafone spokesperson Fleur McFarlane said that the commercial was primarily about the national culture of caring for all friends, whether human or animal, and the community spirit that connects all rural New Zealanders.

3. Firestone Tyres, Pick UP

Advertising Agency: Leo Burnett, Chicago, USA

The romantic ‘Pick Up’ commercial is part of Firestone’s advertising campaign depicting unassuming slices of rural Americana in humorous and emotive scenarios, about country folk, and the reliability of their well-travelled vehicles, that run on Firestone Tyres. 

Cinematically directed by Lance Acord, and filmed in Taft, California, a small oil town southwest of Bakersfield in the scenic San Joaquin valley, the engaging narrative is supported by the resonant soundtrack of “True Love Will Find You in the End” by American singer/songwriter Daniel Johnston.

4. Prudential Investment Managers, The Fishermen

Advertising Agency: Lowe, Cape Town, South Africa

Directed by filmmaker Kim Geldenhuys, and filmed on location in Madagascar, ‘The Fishermen’ is about the importance of ‘being consistent in inconsistent times’.

The emotive scenario relates to the endurance, courage and faith required, to continuously apply ones knowledge and expertise day after day, to reap the benefits of success that in time, will come.

5. Tullamore Dew Irish Whiskey, The Parting Glass

Advertising Agency: Opperman Weiss, New York, USA

This emotive scenario about deep male bonds, the nostalgia of carefree bachelorhood and the parting of a friend to the embrace of another, for me is a masterpiece of atmospheric and nuanced storytelling craft directed by filmmaker Laurence Dunmore.

Filmed in County Wicklow, south of Dublin, the rural narrative is driven by the beautiful lyrics of ‘The Parting Glass’ song of farewell, sung for, and to close friends, that combines joy and sorrow in a way that is sad and yet uplifting at the same time.

Of all the money that e’er I spent
I’ve spent it in good company
And all the harm that ever I did
Alas it was to none but me
And all I’ve done for want of wit
To memory now I can’t recall
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all
If I had money enough to spend
And leisure to sit awhile
There is a fair maid in the town
That sorely has my heart beguiled

Her rosy cheeks and ruby lips
I own she has my heart enthralled
So fill to me the parting glass
Good night and joy be with you all
Oh, all the comrades that e’er I had
They’re sorry for my going away
And all the sweethearts that e’er I had
They’d wish me one more day to stay
But since it falls unto my lot
That I should rise and you should not
I’ll gently rise and softly call
Good night and joy be with you all