Pick of the week: Teva's 'Hairspray' makes us cry

A grey elderly man attracts some stink-eye as he enters a hair academy full of trendy young women. He begins styling hair and – uncomfortably – his fellow trainees bristle at his presence. But as he returns each day he gains in confidence, and brightness. Indeed, with clever production he visibly becomes less grey.

With perseverance he achieves a successful glossy wavy ‘do’ for a customer with long blond hair, and the backdrop switches to the man at home with his wife. It becomes clear that he’s been learning to style hair so he can make his ailing wife happy by doing hers, something she can no longer take care of for herself.

The beautifully crafted message is that carers are often challenged to step outside their own comfort zones to enhance the lives of their patients, just as Teva has stepped outside of its comfort zone with this ad.

‘Big pharma’ is not renowned for high quality creative work, yet in this case, production values are through the roof, and the narrative is moving without resorting to melodrama. Bravo VCCP for shining a light on the work of carers everywhere, and creating an ad that brought tears to the eyes of hard-hearted, unsentimental Campaign reporters.

Brand: Teva

Title: Hairspray

Agency: VCCP

Creatives: Jay Coombes, Katy Dean

Production company: VCCP Kin

Director: John Turner

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