An emotional holiday commercial from Chevrolet is hitting home with many Americans and could very well become one of those ads we'll never forget.
The automaker's more than five-minute ad, called "A Holiday to Remember," opens with a family gathering. A man and his daughter are talking about the declining well-being of his wife, who has early-stage Alzheimer's.
"There's some days she doesn't even recognize me," he says, answering his daughter's question about whether her mom has more bad days than good.
A young woman, presumably the older couple's granddaughter, overhears the conversation and makes a decision.
"Let's make today a good day," she tells her grandmother – who sits with a vacant look – before carefully leading her to a blue 1972 Chevrolet Suburban in the garage.
As John Denver's "Sunshine On My Shoulders" plays, the young woman drives her grandmother through town, reminding her of pivotal places in her life, like her childhood home, her high school, and a drive-in theater that triggers a memory.
It was there the now elderly woman's husband first kissed his wife-to-be, the granddaughter says. Her grandmother then corrects her: "No, I kissed him. He was far too shy." She then tells her teary-eyed granddaughter: "Bill! I need to see Bill."
The pair return to the family home, where the longtime couple hold each other and kiss with tears streaming down their faces. He has her, for a moment.
Chevrolet and the Alzheimer's Association partner on the ad
The ad was created with help from the Alzheimer's Association because most importantly, the commercial showcases what people living with Alzheimer's and their families go through, especially around the holidays.
An estimated 6.7 million Americans ages 65 and older are living with Alzheimer's in 2023, according to the association.
"We talked a lot about reminiscence therapy – not that it's a cure or a solve, but the power of music, the power of memories are things that can enable the person going through it to feel more comfortable. And the people that are the caregivers that are surrounding them, to also feel more comfortable," Steve Majoros, Chevrolet's head of marketing, told Ad Age.
General Motors will not do Super Bowl commercials in 2024, he said.
"We're not going to go spend a trillion dollars in media," Majoros said. Focusing on the holidays is a way to appeal to consumers with "warm, emotive stories."
The commercial was first shown during Fox's Thanksgiving Day NFL broadcast.
Social media reacts: 'Tears streaming down my face'
The ad is still making its rounds on all social media platforms and will likely continue to throughout the holiday season.
Internet users are opening up about how the ad is making them feel. YouTube user @kathiowen observed that "the best marketing tells a story."
"Thank you Chevrolet for the tears of joy," she said.
X user @LindaTraitz commented how the ad left its mark on her.
"Tears are streaming down my face," she wrote. "I was smiling and crying, at the same time."
Tears are streaming down my face.
I can’t remember any other “commercial” that affected me like this one did.
I was smiling and crying, at the same time.
Thank you for sharing this.
— Linda Traitz (@LindaTraitz) November 24, 2023
Automotive News wrote in its reaction to the ad that "the holidays can be a difficult time for family members of loved ones with dementia and Alzheimer’s disease." But Chevy's new ad "portrays how the season can also spark moments of joy, however fleeting."
X user @mandi_lynne3 crowned the ad as THE commercial of the season.
X user @DeaconGregK took it further by saying the commercial's impact could last for much longer. It will certainly be hard to beat.
This could be the best TV ad of the season — or, maybe, the decade https://t.co/ORHLe4snK9
— The Deacon's Bench (@DeaconGregK) November 24, 2023
Majoros told USA TODAY that it's about more than just selling more vehicles.
"We feel a sense of honor and responsibility when given the opportunity to bring these stories to life each holiday season."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Chevy's new 'Holiday to Remember' commercial tugs on America's heart