A little girl with a mop of curly hair is wide-eyed whilst watching England footballer Steph Houghton. In steps her equally curly mom, who shows her daughter the girl who inspired her when she was a lass, miss perfect ten Romanian gymnast Nadia Comaneci. Warning, I've done exactly this and had to peel my offspring off anything that resembled uneven bars for months after. On the tablet more inspiring women now appear, Billie Holiday, Emmeline Pankhurst and Paloma Faith. Singers and feminists. The women on the screen now point at the girl, and the ad ends on the girl staring at us - which gets an unfortunately creepy tone as it looks a bit like a dead stare.
The feminist zeitgeist-angle feels a little heavy-handed with Emmeline Pankhurst thrown in next to pop stars, as if we're checking a currently-important-topic box. There are plenty of inspiring people out there, and for children it could be as simple as the Blue Peter crew showing kids how to make things out of discarded household items. The suffragettes come later. Point is to show a transformative moment in a girls life, so that we can tie it to the tagline "Are you ready to be moved?" The girl googling how to print her own 3D rocket would have been far more interesting, but of course that doesn't sell Vivid broadband.

The song in the advert is Alicia Keys’ ‘Girl on Fire’ performed by X Factor contestant Fleur East.

Client: Virgin Media

about the author

Dabitch Creative Director, CEO, hell-raising sweetheart and editor of Adland. Globetrotting Swede who has lived and worked in New York, London, San Francisco, Amsterdam, Copenhagen and Stockholm.

Comments (28)

  • David Felton's picture
    David Felton

    Beautifully shot ad, but wow, it's a nice parallel universe where kids care about suffragettes and civil rights. It's like they haven't actually seen a pre-teen on the internet. Sweet though, if rather proselytizing.

    Oct 02, 2015
  • I Forgot my Login's picture
    I Forgot my Login (not verified)

    "Beautifully shot"?? The computer-search overlay is ugly, the CGI of each dead celebrity is poorly done, the little girl has as Dabitch points out a "dead stare" at the end, and everything else is close cropped.

    Oct 02, 2015
  • Tom Megginson's picture
    Tom Megginson (not verified)

    I liked the concept, but right away I felt as if I was being told what to think and feel, instead of being inspired. Then when the historic role models were digitally altered to interact with the girl, I blurted out an audible "oh, come ON!!!"

    I was maybe willing to suspend disbelief about what David calls the "nice parallel universe" for the cause of inspiring girls with strong women, but not so much to see it exploited to sell broadband.

    I wish I had time to blog about this to provide more detail, but thank you for letting me rant on Adland.

    Oct 02, 2015
  • Dabitch's picture

    Yeah, I had an "oh COME ON" moment at that too, it's too heavy handed. But worse still is that they cast a cute lass, and somehow made her "inspired looking at viewer" in the end look a bit serial killer manic-like.

    Oct 02, 2015
  • David Felton's picture
    David Felton

    I have to inquire, anyone else getting a young Amy Pond vibe from the whole thing?

    Yes, I agree with Tom - this isn't so much inspiring as it is prescriptive. And using female empowerment, especially young female empowerment to sell broadband is a cheap and dirty trick. Also to continue my train of though, WHY did the figures from history have to reach out and knowingly nod at her? Isn't their inclusion enough?

    Do we live in such a self-obsessed age that we can't relate to iconic and important people from the past unless they literally give us the thumbs up?

    Oct 02, 2015
  • Ria's picture
    Ria (not verified)

    This whole one eye illuminati thing is so boring..

    Oct 24, 2015
  • graham cox's picture
    graham cox (not verified)

    Driving me mad.............who is playing mum

    Nov 06, 2015
  • Peter Lineton's picture
    Peter Lineton (not verified)

    What a load of pseudo intellectual remarks from a bunch of misery guts.It's just tv ad FGS.
    I suppose you have the same reaction to John Lewis Christmas TV ads. There will be another of those in a few days time.You will be in your whinging overdrive element quite soon.Enjoy

    Nov 06, 2015
  • David Felton's picture
    David Felton

    Guys, go home - it's just a tv ad. Who cares about this multibillion dollar global industry anyway?

    Nov 06, 2015
  • Dabitch's picture

    Clearly the commentor who just had to make a comment to tell us not to comment on the topic of our interests. I've never quite understood that silly logic - nor do I care for people telling me what to do.

    Nov 06, 2015
  • AnonymousCoward's picture
    AnonymousCoward (not verified)

    I find that girl super creepy,so much I don't even look at the screen when the ad is on.

    Nov 15, 2015
  • Emma's picture
    Emma (not verified)

    I want to know the little girls name she is so much like my daughter it is unreal!
    It's just an ad I don't know why people get so worked up about it, that said I do squirm when look again advert comes on and o hear Stacey Solomon speak as much as i don't mind her singing voice I can't manage that lol.

    Nov 19, 2015
  • John Symon's picture
    John Symon (not verified)

    Are the Mother and Daughter really Mother and Daughter, they look so alike

    Nov 20, 2015
  • Cloud's picture
    Cloud (not verified)

    Ahhhh it's sooo creepy :s

    Jan 03, 2016
  • madeleine cowell's picture
    madeleine cowell (not verified)

    I did not like this advertisement. The woman playing the mother is common and poorly spoken. TV should be setting an example to young children.

    Jan 05, 2016
  • lesley de la mare's picture
    lesley de la mare (not verified)

    Awful ad. The girl is unsettling and the mother trashy.

    Jan 07, 2016
  • robert smith's picture
    robert smith (not verified)

    Dreadful and prescriptive. Weird little girl like something out of a Hammer horror film and the mother so poorly spoken that she is unintelligible. 2 out of 10.

    Jan 08, 2016
  • Lee Stoddart's picture
    Lee Stoddart (not verified)

    I love this ad. The girl has a great face and eyes. I think she is inspired by the role models. I don't find the end shot spooky in the least.

    Yes it's just a tv ad. But I like it enough to search for comments and info about it.

    Jan 10, 2016
  • ProductionGal's picture
    ProductionGal (not verified)

    I can't tell if the casting is off or the director failed to get this to look better, but the end result is exactly what Dabitch says, a dead stare and creepy. The girl may have been lovely and lively in real life but she looks like shit in this ad and no editing could save it.

    Jan 11, 2016
  • james stockley's picture
    james stockley (not verified)

    Quite dreadful. Really creepy little girl and that stare from her at the end is very unsettling.

    Jan 14, 2016
  • jean viretave's picture
    jean viretave (not verified)

    Uncomfortable watching. Strangely chilling for a reason I can't quite pin down. The mother is awful, why not cast someone who can speak properly?

    Jan 16, 2016
  • Dave's picture
    Dave (not verified)

    Please don't compare curly kid to the fantastic Pond. I thought it was her sister that came into the room until I read it's her unwed /divorced mum. Or maybe it was a virgin media birth

    Jan 16, 2016
  • Dabitch's picture

    This ad seems to have stirred up a lot of negative reactions in the UK.

    Jan 16, 2016
  • madeleine cowell's picture
    madeleine cowell (not verified)

    Shocking diction from the mother 'Wot ya lookin at?" A really common woman, weird creepy girl and an altogether spooky ad. Yuk.

    Jan 17, 2016
  • sheila huggins's picture
    sheila huggins (not verified)

    If you want to inspire and empower young females the first example to set is the importance of good spoken English. The woman in this advertisement is shockingly badly spoken and comes across as a scrubber.

    Jan 21, 2016
  • Bob Angel's picture
    Bob Angel (not verified)

    If you compare the original ad to the one being shown now you will see that the last scene with girl looking up at you has been modified slightly.

    Jan 22, 2016
  • David Felton's picture
    David Felton

    TIL; British people are still really hung up on diction. I don't see the problem, have these commenters never been around someone who didn't speak with Received Pronunciation? Frankly, I find the whole thing a bit creepy and unsettling, and as I've already commented, egoistic. Do we literally need these people to point and wink to find them inspirational? The whole think drips with millennial narcissism - can they only be inspirational figures if they reach out and acknowledge us personally? Other than that, it does an okay job of raising some important issues; jury's out if it actually sells the product though.

    Jan 31, 2016

Leave a comment