WHAT: Arizona Cardinals wide receiver Larry Fitzgerald fulfills a promise to his deceased mom in this new University Of Phoenix ad.
WHO: University of Phoenix, 180LA
WHY WE CARE: Man, oh man, leaving a voicemail for your recently departed mom to tell her you fulfilled a long-held promise that was close to her heart? Clearly the University of Phoenix wants football fans to start bawling their eyes out on the couch. "We want Brian's Song, but in the form of a for-profit college ad!" It's a well-crafted, perfectly executed spot that will no doubt tap some emotions. Something the brand will need to avoid prospective students lumping it in with for-profit school brethren like ITT Technical Institutes, which abruptly shut down last week.
But when the tears dry, be sure to watch the PBS doc College, Inc. (and read the back and forth between PBS and the brand about it), and remember that the University of Phoenix also happens to own the naming rights to the stadium where Fitzgerald holds his day job.