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Don’t worry, this Sarah McLachlan ad for Bolt won’t make you cry

Ryan Reynolds’s agency Maximum Effort spoofs a classic ASPCA spot for the fintech startup.

Don’t worry, this Sarah McLachlan ad for Bolt won’t make you cry

Back in 2007, Canadian singer-songwriter Sarah McLachlan starred in a PSA commercial for the American Society for the Prevention of Cruelty to Animals that largely sparked two reactions: One, people sobbed uncontrollably or two, people quickly changed the channel before sobbing uncontrollably. Set to her hit song “Angel,” the tears-inducing ad hit more than heartstrings, raising more than $30 million for the organization in less than two years on the air.

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Now, McLachlan is starring in another ad, this time for the fintech startup Bolt. But instead of rescuing animals, she’s rescuing all the stranded goods in abandoned online shopping carts. Created by Ryan Reynolds’s agency Maximum Effort, the ad says that up to 70% of online shopping carts are ditched before that crucial final step.

While harking back to a 15-year-old PSA is perhaps the deepest of deep cuts, the new spot is consistent with both Reynolds’s and Maximum Effort’s penchant for spoofing ad tropes and meme-worthy moments, like Peloton Wife, or just the entire concept of brand spokespeople.

It also comes on the heels of a few weeks where Bolt has made some headlines, though for wildly different reasons. Earlier this month, the company announced it would become the first tech unicorn to permanently embrace the four-day work week. And exactly a week ago, Bolt founder and CEO Ryan Breslow kicked up a social storm after tweeting a thread that called competitor Stripe and startup accelerator Y Combinator “the Mob Bosses of Silicon Valley.”

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(Update: Meanwhile, shortly after this story was published, Breslow announced that Bolt COO Maju Kuruvilla will become the company’s new chief executive and that he is transitioning to executive chairman.)

As for the ad itself, it’s not the first time Reynolds has invoked the name of his fellow Canadian icon in a commercial. For a 2018 Aviation Gin ad, Reynolds said that before each crate of the booze is shipped, it’s “serenaded” by McLachlan. He then thanked the artist on Twitter, revealing he had once bagged her groceries as a teenager.

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Now, grab a box of tissues and see if you can pass the Sarah McLachlan ASPCA PSA Dry Eyes Challenge.

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About the author

Jeff Beer is a staff editor at Fast Company, covering advertising, marketing, and brand creativity.

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