I don’t know about you, but I don’t usually pay particularly close attention to TV commercials. As a good capitalist, I realize that commercials are the fiscal lifeblood of the broadcasting business. Yet, it’s just a fact that it’s impossible to take in all the advertising messages we are bombarded with daily.
There is one commercial I saw recently that grabbed my attention, and I think it might just be the best TV commercial ever.
The commercial I’m enamored with here is from enterprise software firm SAP SE (SAP), and it stars the captivating actor Clive Owen. Yet it’s not Owen that makes this commercial so great. What makes the SAP commercial so excellent is its philosophical content, and particularly its message that business is the solution to virtually all the world’s problems.
“The best-run businesses can make the world run better,” says the ad, “Because solving big problems is what business does best.”
Boom! It’s that message that resonates so deeply with me, as a free-market purist and an advocate of laissez-faire capitalism. It’s also a message that slaps aside the notion that government is the solution to the biggest problems in society.
Indeed, the SAP ad starts out by mentioning many of those big, global problems, including: Overproducing (i.e. pollution), overcrowding, overheating (i.e. global warming), an aging infrastructure and workplace bias.
The genius of this commercial is that it asks, “Who’s going to fix all of this? An actor? Probably not.”
Then SAP correctly identifies what truly is the only real solution to nearly every problem of scarcity and unintended consequences the world grapples with, saying: “But you know who can solve it? Business.”
Now, aside from correctly identifying the only real solution to human problems, i.e. the ingenuity of humans focused on a goal and driven by the profit motive, what makes this commercial even more philosophically powerful is the insinuation that this kind of activity is a moral virtue.
“And doing good is just good business.”
Finally, the SAP commercial tells us that whether it’s growing more food with less water, or making “healthcare, more healthy,” or taking on other social issues such as the wage gap, the opportunity gap and the achievement gap, “Together, we can tackle every elephant in the room.”
I couldn’t agree with this commercial any stronger, and I applaud SAP for coming out with this unabashed defense of what they do, what business in general does and what capitalism can do for humanity.
And, as the closing lines go… “Because whatever the problem is, business can help. And I know who can help them do it… SAP.”
Bravo, SAP. You’ve managed to make a commercial that not only positions your company as one that can aid in resolving the world’s biggest issues, you’ve also succeeded in making this free-market warrior smile with philosophic delight.
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The Power of Words
“If you want to change the world, pick up your pen and write.”
— Martin Luther
The theologian and church reformer famously challenged papal authority, and in doing so changed the course of history. Perhaps more importantly, he did so via the power of the pen. The lesson here is that if you have a societal grievance, or even just a small personal grievance, there’s no better remedy than putting your thoughts out to the world in writing. Remember, never underestimate the power of a few well-placed words.
Wisdom about money, investing and life can be found anywhere. If you have a good quote you’d like me to share with your fellow readers, send it to me, along with any comments, questions and suggestions you have about my newsletters, seminars or anything else. Click here to ask Jim.