Duracell’s commercial starring Seattle Seahawks running back Derrick Coleman is easily one of the best ads of 2014.
If you don’t remember it, the ad features a moving voiceover in which Coleman tells the story of how he reached the NFL despite being deaf.
In a story this past January, we called the commercial “nothing short of beautiful” and “one of the best ads of the new year.”
It seems Walmart might have liked it even better than we did.
That’s because the retail giant’s newest commercial, which tells the story of a factory worker with physical and mental disabilities, is extremely similar to the Duracell ad. It was made by the same ad agency, Saatchi & Saatchi New York.
In fact, one person familiar with Saatchi & Saatchi’s creative process told me Walmart representatives specifically asked for a commercial just like Duracell’s.
Like the Coleman commercial, the Walmart ad features a speech-impaired voice-over from its subject, who discusses the way people didn’t give him a chance over a montage of his struggles. Both Coleman and Gallagher use short sentences to describe the undefined “they” who mistreated them in their early years.
And near the end, both Coleman and Gallagher deliver a well-crafted one-liner about how their supposed impairment helped them ignore the people who told them they couldn’t succeed.
Coleman: “They told me it was over. But I’ve been deaf since I was 3 … so I didn’t listen.”
Gallagher: “My whole life, people have been telling me I have a learning disability. I guess they’re right … because I never learned how to give up.”
Here’s the Duracell commercial:
And here’s Walmart’s:
And here’s the text of the voiceovers (emphasis ours):
Duracell: “They told me it couldn’t be done. That I was a lost cause. I was picked on. And picked last. Coaches didn’t know how to talk to me. They gave up on me. Told me I should just quit. They didn’t call my name. Told me it was over. But I’ve been deaf since I was 3 … so I didn’t listen. And now I’m here, with a lot of fans in the NFL cheering me on. And I can hear them all.”
Walmart: “When I was born, doctors said that I had a condition that affected every part of me, from my body to my brain. When you’re like me, people don’t always give you a chance. They put me in a different school. They put me on a different team. They talked to me in a different way. But I never wanted to be treated any differently. I wanted to be independent. So I learned to drive. I loved sports. So I took part in any way that I could. When my condition became so bad that I lost feeling in my legs, I learned to walk again. And when I wanted to work, I got a job. It’s a struggle every day. I still get up because work makes me feel like I’m reaching my goals. I’m part of a team. And I get to give back to my family. My whole life, people have been telling me I have a learning disability. I guess they’re right … because I never learned how to give up.”