Ewan McGregor Gives ‘Pep Talk’ in GS&P’s Latest for Cisco

By Erik Oster 

“Congratulations, fellow human beings,” says Ewan McGregor at the beginning of Goodby Silvertstein & Partners new spot for Cisco, “Pep Talk,” leading us to wonder for a second if the actor is, in fact, an alien.

“We made it, we sprouted limbs, we crawled out of the slime. I’m really proud of us.” He goes on to summarize thousands of years of progress with “We built pyramids, invented the mochachino, we created a network that became the internet,” while somehow overlooking humankind’s greatest achievement: beer. McGregor alludes to how quickly that last achievement (the internet) is accelerating progress with line “And then, boom” as a lightning fast train whizzes by.

The point of the extremely optimistic speech seems to be to celebrate the importance of networks, kind of Cisco’s deal, while stoking excitement about what has recently become possible (3D printed ear, growing lettuce in space, buying a goat with a smart phone, robot dog, etc.) and what will be possible in the near future (better robot dog, for one). The connnection to the brand is reiterated with the line “When everything’s securely connected, anything’s possible,” and the tagline “There’s Never Been a Better Time.”

It’s all almost comically optimistic, which might be more excusable if it didn’t come across as so self-congratulatory on Cisco’s part. Still, McGregor’s earnest delivery gives the spot its fair share of charm and peddling optimism is somewhat inherent in most advertising. “Pep Talk” is also not lacking in the eye candy department, with a range of environments and gadgets explored in vivid color and detail by director Dante Ariola


As you may recall, the new effort follows last month’s series of spots launching the “There’s Never Been a Better Time’ campaign, with a more targeted optimism celebrating the empowerment of technology to help people through difficult situations. The campaign launch marked the first work under Cisco’s new CMO, Karen Walker.