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Super Bowl commercial “The Four Loves” by C.S. Lewis a hit with viewers

Nearly lost in the shuffle of a suggestive halftime show and overhyped commercials, one Super Bowl advertiser featured the wisdom of Christian writer C.S. Lewis.

New York Life, the third-largest life insurance company in the United States, debuted a one-minute commercial, “Love Takes Action,” guiding viewers through the four definitions of love. The commercial was a hit with viewers who stopped to watch.

Using Lewis’ writing as a guide, the ad’s narrator, “Avengers” star Tessa Thompson, described Philia as “affection that grows from friendship,” Storgē as the love “you have for a grandparent or a brother,” Eros as “the uncontrollable urge to say ‘I love you,’ and lastly, agápē, which is “love as an action.”

“The fourth kind of love is different,” Thompson said. “It’s the most admirable. It’s called ‘Agápē’ — love as an action. It takes courage, sacrifice, strength.” Lewis described the first three loves — Philia, Storgē, and Eros — as “the natural loves” and Agápē as “the love of God.”

It is the presence, or absence, of the former loves that can, if not held in the correct balance, pull us away from Agápē, our duty to selflessly love God and those around us, putting them first.

“To love at all is to be vulnerable,” Lewis explained. “Love anything, and your heart will be wrung and possibly broken. If you want to make sure of keeping it intact you must give it to no one — not even an animal. Wrap it carefully ’round with hobbies and little luxuries, avoid all entanglements. Lock it up safe in the casket or coffin of your selfishness. But in that casket, safe, dark, motionless, airless, it will change. It will not be broken; it will become unbreakable, impenetrable, irredeemable. To love is to be vulnerable.”


Of course, the New York Life commercial was, after all, a pitch: an advertisement hoping to convince viewers to make a purchase. But the lesson it provided is, nevertheless, an important one.

–Alan Goforth | Metro Voice

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