Media & Advertising

Why are people getting choked up watching this Extra gum commercial?

This one hit hard.

An epic new commercial for Wrigley’s Extra brand gum that celebrates the end of the COVID-19 pandemic in 2021 is giving cooped up viewers all the feels — in a way that only a gum advertisement could.

The 154-second ad has gone viral since it debuted earlier this month — for good reason

Because there’s only one appropriate reaction to a commercial narrative with themes that play on our collective loneliness and skin hunger during the pandemic, against the well-timed placement of Céline Dion’s 1996 version of “It’s All Coming Back to Me Now” — and that’s tears.

Since the ad dropped, playing in various lengths on TV and digital platforms, viewers have taken comfort in its message on social media.

“Cried at a gum commercial. I didn’t see this happening for me today, but here we are,” tweeted Liz Pittman, a Canadian fan in Victoria.

Filmed in Santiago, Chile, the ad opens with people “in the not too distant future,” emerging from lockdown and social isolation in comically exaggerated ways: the hair is long, beards are unkempt, pizza boxes are stacked high and cars are covered in dust. Upon their return to society — to the office, to brunch, to making out in public — Wrigley’s Extra Gum reminds us not to forget one very important social norm: fresh breath.

Wrigley's commercial for Extra gum had viewers inexplicably tearing up at life on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.
Wrigley’s commercial for Extra gum had viewers inexplicably tearing up at life on the other side of the coronavirus pandemic.
EXTRA Gum

The culminating scene depicts dozens of slovenly dressed singles (or maybe not?) getting frisky in a park in broad daylight. “We could all use a fresh start,” reads the brand message at closing.

“Laugh. Cry. Laugh. Cry again but mostly love! With Céline Dion to boot. Bravo to Wrigley’s Extra Gum for capturing our inner selves,” said Montreal-based writer Martine St. Victor on Twitter.

“I’m at the ‘gum commercial made me chuckle then get teary eyed’ stage of the pandemic. I miss you, people,” said Canadian CEO Carole Saab.

“I’m not crying at a gum commercial, you’re crying at a gum commercial,” said Rebecca Zamon, from Toronto, on Twitter — indicating there may be a correlation between Canadians and sentimentality. Or Céline Dion. Or beards.

Added yet another Canadian, CBC journalist Lauren Pelley, “Friend sent this my way this morning, and I’m now laugh-crying at my desk. Well played, gum company, well played.”

All speculations of the Canadian psyche aside, the ingenious ad weaves in much of the post-pandemic discourse in the media. Employers and employees are currently grappling with how and when to return to the office and other places of work — and whether anyone even wants to.

Meanwhile, it’s long been speculated that the end of the pandemic would prompt a return of the “roaring ’20s,” the likes of which the country first saw just after the flu epidemic of 1918, according to Yale professor Nicholas Christakis, who told the Guardian recently to expect virtue to take a backseat in favor of rampant “sexual licentiousness.”

Eager revelers on social media have already dubbed the forthcoming season “the whoring ’20s” and “Shot Girl Summer,” inspired by 2019’s viral Megan Thee Stallion song “Hot Girl Summer.”

In another recent tweet, Glamour’s editor-in-chief Samantha Barry suggested that Wrigley’s Extra is way ahead of the “slutty summer” forecast.

Said Barry, “My summer plans brought to you by this epic ad…EXTRA Gum.”


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