This Deeply Emotional Ad for a Japanese Music Store Will Definitely Strike a Chord

A father's wedding gift, revealed through memories

Need a new reason to cry at weddings? Tosando, a Japanese company that offers musical instruments and lessons, is pleased to oblige with this intense, time-tripping tear-jerker.

The short film tells the story of a widowed, middle-aged father and his daughter on her wedding day. At the reception, dad sits at the piano and attempts to play Pachelbel's Canon, which opens the floodgates for memories both happy and sad. The flashbacks are a tad disorienting at first, but you'll get the gist. (RocketNews24 has a handy breakdown/translation for those in need.) There's a nice shot of the bride's hands playing along on the table as pop struggles with the song. Her pissy disapproval of his decision to play gives the scene an extra dose of reality and keeps things from getting too sentimental.

Judging from reactions around the Web, this finely crafted cinematic spot, clocking in at more than three minutes, has left more than a few viewers misty-eyed.

Indeed, emotion-stirring ads from Asia are a big deal these days. Thai mobile company TrueMove told an immensely popular sob story last year, and Thai Life Insurance has twice turned on the waterworks to impressive effect. In Japan, Intel recently pitched in with this epic 13-minute base-bawler.

All advertising is manipulative to some degree, but at least these weepers win us over with deft manipulation. Such spots broadly play on our emotions without stepping over the line into maudlin territory. These commercials truly make us feel something, which is a lot more than I can say for much of the self-consciously wacky ad campaigns still being trotted out for American audiences. Sometimes that crap is so lame it makes me want to cry.

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@DaveGian David Gianatasio is a longtime contributor to Adweek, where he has been a writer and editor for two decades. Previously serving as Adweek's New England bureau chief and web editor, he remains based in Boston.