By now you've probably seen the video. The 150 New York City school children walking the streets singing Jay-Z and Alicia Keys' "Empire State of Mind," their sweet voices telling firefighters there's nothing they can't do even on 9/11. It's, well, I'm not sure what you'd call it. A State Farm ad doesn't seem right because the company wisely chose to list only its name, not even using its well-known logo, at the tail end of the commercial getting major airplay this week. Tribute maybe?
What you call it doesn't matter so much as why it works, why this week people are praising the insurance company's collaboration with director Spike Lee instead of griping that they're capitalizing on tragedy (they aren't at all, but more on that later). It's those kids. All 150 of them.
It's corny and cliched, and on a normal day I'd be gagging myself, but goshdarnit if those kids didn't make anything seem possible. It's got to be the singing.
You can almost always tell when a child is singing vs. an adult. Even supremely talented kids traditionally have a different timbre to their voice than that which will develop with age and changes to their bodies. And save for the really screechy, pitchy ones, they pretty much always sound cuter than us (come on I said pretty much).
I don't think you can really quantify "amount of happiness derived" from listening to a child singing. But State Farm is trying (this is where I get to the "they don't benefit" part). Buy a copy of those sweet little kiddos singing "Empire State of Mind" from iTunes or Amazon, and the company's portion of the money goes to the National Fallen Firefighters Foundation.
Sing it with me now ... awwwwww.
Did the kids make this video for you? Check it out to see them in action:
And check out Spike Lee talking about how they got it done:
Image via YouTube