With classic diva Shirley Bassey singing "My life..." and an image of a purple ice skate, a young figure skater checks himself out in the mirror, adjusts his tights (also purple) and adds hair spray to perfect his coif.
Offering himself a confident wink and kiss in the mirror, he leaves his dressing room and walks down a hallway before stepping out into the arena to a cheering crowd. But they're not there for him -- it's a hockey game.
He grabs a stunned player's hockey stick and does a few fancy moves on the ice to an also stunned crowd. Suddenly the teams begin chasing him for disrupting the game, and as one tries to knock him down, our hero does a back somersault over him.
He then takes control of the puck and agilely avoids all the angry players. In the last moments on the clock, he hits a goal and then stands triumphantly as the other team rushes him from behind.
Quite an unusual ad for an insurance company, though it is from The Netherlands.
Without directly showing whether the figure skater is gay, this ad is much beloved by some members of the gay community, who see the figure skater as a metaphor which triumphs art, individuality and gayness over the traditionally violent team sport of hockey and its representation of heterosexuality.
After resting the ad for a bit, Delta Lloyd re-aired it in association with the 2002 Winter Olympics.
Mahlon Manson , Derry, NH
I love this ad. Love, love love it.
Stuart Carroll , San Diego
I'm iffy about the message this one is sending. It's a commercial for insurance after all -- and I think the implication at the end is that the figure skater is going to need some pretty good insurance once the hockey players get through with him. So even though "art triumphs over violent team sports," it's the "artist" who's going to get the crap beaten out of him in the end.
Samir Roy , San Diego
I think Stuart has a point. When judging these ads, one has to take into consideration not only the political and ideological intent (or lack of intent, for what one instinctively rather than consciously decides to include in any visual media is often more reflective of the creator's actual thoughts), but also of the advertisement's basic intention, which is to sell the product. In this ad the product is insurance, and the only possible conclusion one can draw from this ad, keeping in mind that they are selling insurance, is that the figure skater is going to need good insurance very soon and this company can provide it. Now look at what goes on in the ad again. While it doesn't necessarily present any kind of negative stigma around homosexuality, (it never truly confirms that the skater is gay either, which could also be read as a positive step in rejecting easy stereotypes), if one reads the skaters resourcefulness in evading the hockey players (at least initially) and beating them at their own game by scoring a goal as a metaphor for triumph, then you must follow that theory to it's logical conclusion, which is that, though the skater seems to have triumphed, he pays dearly for his unabashed display the way many gay men and women have had to pay for being openly gay in violently homophobic societies. And hence, being open and honest about yourself opens up the susceptibility to danger in homophobic societies, which would necessitate resourcefulness, strength of character AND good insurance in order to survive. It's very hard to say that ALL this is the intention of the ad, but to read it as a triumph also means to read as an illumination of our place in the world and our fear of reprisal from the violently ignorant.
Russ Evans , Welland, Canada
I think this ad is great up until the last 3 seconds of it. I feel it shows that no matter your skill, perserverance, and attitude you still get your butt kicked for being different. I feel bad that the hero has to be severely beaten in the end, not impressed.
Paul , Tacoma, WA
I agree with Stuart Carroll.
Alan , Los Angeles
Oh... lighten up people. It's really really funny. This is the only ad on this site that I actually laugh out loud!
Daniel , Amsterdam
To react on Stuart and a couple of others, The simple meaning of this ad is, "I don't care, because my insurance are with Delta Lloyd." I really love this one, and I think it's the best one on the site.
Eric , Seattle
This works both as a bittersweet triumph of the gay spirit and an insurance ad. Without the threat of possible violence from the hockey players, there would be no story here. To give this spot a thumbs down for illuminating the potential for violence against the skater is like faulting the world for not being your perfect little utopia. It's a great comedic turn with teeth and it's an attention getter for the insurance company.
Rob , San Antoinio, TX
This ad is fantastic -- grace and beauty triumph over brutality! The song makes a great backdrop to the "be yourself and win" attitude. I love the ad!
Nortylak , Ann Arbor, MI
While I think it could be argued that this commercial perpetuates sterotypes, I think it goes beyond that to demonstrate pride in truly being oneself. I love it.
Nadia , Amsterdam, Netherlands
I truly adore this commercial. It's everything, it's the way he walks. And the way he stands at the end, the whole commercial is a masterpiece! Every time it's on TV it makes me smile. This insurance company has more great commercials.
Rudi , Eksjö, Sweden
I love it. Gay society should be proud of its diversity, and should be able to reclaim the stereotypes!
Coby Leach , Knoxville, TN
This ad has made my day great. I'm now wearing a big smile!
Ryan , New Zealand
This is my all-time favourite ad. As for the gay references, aren't there some gay men in the hockey team? This is just fabulous. Congrats to whoever made it.
Mary , Mt Clemens, MI
This is one of the best ads I have ever seen. No matter what a person might want to read into it, the bottom line is: almost everyone who views it will remember it. Pure creative genius!
Mark Richardson , Boonton, NJ
Brilliant! Style, grace, and beauty defeat agression and brute force. Stereotype or no stereotype, how often do Americans get to see that message in the post 9/11 world?
Pieter , Utrecht, Netherlands
I love this ad. It's not on television anymore but I hope it will return.
Vance Blankenbaker , Arlington, VA
Is the skater a self-styled nonconformist, non-traditional hero who should be celebrated? Is this the tale of a talented man who has gone all wrong? An antigay person could see a man who has become repellent in his chosen individuality and gets what he asked for with his "queer" looks and behavior. Whether he's a hero or an aberration is in the eye of the beholder.
Abby , Chevy Chase, MD
I absouletly loved this ad! But I think it negatively conveys hockey as a sport that is not graceful, and that the figure skater is much more graceful. I mean, talk about sport stereotyping! I love hockey, and with a boyfriend who is a hockey skater, I think it is also a graceful sport! I don't think they would have been evaded so quickly. It's still quite amusing though. Made me laugh.