On Saturday my daughter and I were watching the Notre Dame football game, when an ad came on screen. Most television ads for universities show picturesque panoramic views of their campuses, smiling, diverse faces of professors, students and alums, with a complementary statistic and an inspiring slogan at the end. Not Notre Dame.
It started with a close-up of the face of a young woman, telling us of a rare condition she suffered with, causing her to lose the ability to walk. Several images flashed of her in the hospital, broken and defeated. The next image was of her weeping mother, confirming the severity of her situation.
We returned to the young woman, with steely-eyed resolve, proclaiming she would walk again. She explained that the proper walking supports didn’t exist to help her, so she created her own. The next person on screen was a professor from Notre Dame University (the first reference to the school), who spoke of how they helped her along her journey. What followed were a series of images of the young woman learning to walk again. She said it became her purpose to start a company designing supports so that others may overcome debilitating illnesses. Contrasting images, some of her helping others, others of her running in a marathon, should us how she succeeded in her goal.
At the end of the ad she proclaimed, “We are the Fighting Irish. What are you fighting for?”
My daughter sat on the couch, riveted to a television commercial. “That’s the best university ad I’ve ever seen,” she announced.
Maybe it was, maybe in wasn’t. After looking into my daughter’s face, all I knew was, it worked.