John Hancock Commerical

Does anyone remember the “controversial” commercials John Hancock Financial ran before and during the 2000 Olympics? I don’t either. But while doing some research for this post I see they stirred up the political-correctness pot with some so-called provocative subject matter.

If I can trust my sources, because as I mentioned I don’t remember any of this, the commercials showcased true-life situations:

  • A man considers a nursing home for his father.
  • A recently divorced couple struggle with personal issues.
  • A single mother contemplates marriage.
  • Two women adopt a baby from Asia.

Guess which one made the fuss way back in ’00?

Okay, I didn’t tee up to play that course today. I’m not taking on the subject of same sex adoptions but instead focusing on their current promo.

Maybe you’ve seen it. Maybe like me, it didn’t register a blip on the attention meter because it appears quite innocuous. But a closer look reveals why I find this to be such a sad commentary on society.

The setting is a typical upscale corporate American office. There the CEO/President/Founder sits facing the camera, exuding grandfatherly warmth and professional contemplation. He reflects on the struggles he overcame to get where he is today; parents that could give him nothing but their moral support, etc.

Then he says…

“This company is who I am.”


But that’s not all. He goes on to say how he’s doing this all for his daughter, so she can have a company, and….

“That will be who she is.”


I’m not sure if anyone besides me is disturbed by this kind of thinking. Besides the insinuation of raising an emotionally abused child, it is so very superficial to equate your occupation as being who you are. It’s a cheap shortcut to self-esteem, but it’s also an easy route to all kinds of self destructive behavior and abuse, along with emotional insecurity- and even suicidal tendencies.

Do we really want to define ourselves, and measure our self worth and success, by corporate metrics, bank statements and Hummers?

One of the most profound questions to ask yourself is, “Who am I?”

It’s a good excercise if you can omit societal, cultural, and occupational labels.

And I’ll bet your answer will not be the name of a company.


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