I have a confession: I’m a commercial crier.
I wish I could blame it on pregnancy hormones, but my son is almost 2 years old and I’m still doing it. I expect those spots for preemie diapers to get me every time, but I was recently surprised when a product as unsentimental as Windex ruined my mascara.
The heartstring pulling begins when a new dad looks through a freshly cleaned hospital window to see his newborn daughter, and continues as we watch him watching her on the way home through a strategically placed backseat mirror.
Through the father’s eyes (and a lot of sparkling glass surfaces) we watch as the baby girl grows up over the three minute long spot.
Parts of the commercial are a little unrealistic—I mean, find me a parent who has a learning-to-walk toddler and a sparkling clean glass coffee table at the same time—but so much of it hits home.
Between shots of the daughter growing older, we see the dad going off to work as a ship’s captain and missing his little girl. It’s a struggle so many parents know all too well. While more of us are missing our kids from high-rise offices than from the high seas, working parents understand how it can sometimes feel like there’s an ocean between you and your child.
A minute into the ad, the dad comes home with a telescope for his now school-age daughter, and the pair spends time together studying the stars before he heads back to his ship. Shots of the growing girl at home follow images of the father, working away on his boat. When the family reunites, the girl is a little older. Soon she is a teenager in full makeup, applying eyeliner in front of a mirror (presumably cleaned with Windex).
We see the girl graduate, go off to college, follow her passion for science and stars, and get married. The father’s proud but pained expressions are familiar to every parent who has watched their own little one grow up seemingly overnight.
The commercial ends as it began, with the ship’s captain looking through a maternity ward window at his daughter—all grown up and holding her own newborn baby.
There isn’t a single line spoken during the three minute spot, but there doesn’t need to be. This commercial for glass cleaner is clearly saying something we say all the time: They really do grow up so fast.
Who would have thought a Windex commercial could have us weeping?