Cathy Freeman stars in Coles Olympics ad

In a dramatic departure from the style of its recent advertising sing-alongs, supermarket giant Coles has released a new emotive brand ad in time for the Olympics, starring sporting hero and brand ambassador Cathy Freeman, Mumbrella can reveal.

The commercial, titled the Cathy Spirit ad, sees a young girl race across an open field, with the voice of commentator Bruce McAvaney from Freeman’s famous victory at the Sydney 2000 Olympics in the background.

The ad is set to break tomorrow morning around the opening ceremony, on both Nine and Nine’s digital Gem.

The ad is timed to coincide with the launch of Coles Sports for Schools, of which Freeman is the ambassador.

A survey from the supermarket found that one in five Australian children have their sights on becoming an Olympic hero when they grow up, while 87% will be inspired to watch and play more sport during the Olympics.

The ad was shot in country Victoria. Media was by MB3.

It was based on one of the most memorable moments in Australian sporting history, when Cathy Freeman won the 400m at the Sydney Olympics.


  1. Alison_F
    27 Jul 12
    12:58 pm

  2. Liking!

  3. Greg
    27 Jul 12
    1:05 pm

  4. The ad doesn’t do much for me.

  5. B
    27 Jul 12
    2:01 pm

  6. Field of Coles

  7. pete
    27 Jul 12
    2:45 pm

  8. beautiful commercial, like it much better than their tacky ‘down down’ commercials. It would have been stronger if they used a youth (future Olympic potential) runner… the young girl appears to have been selected for her appearance rather than her running ability.

  9. Mike
    27 Jul 12
    3:05 pm

  10. It’s a beautiful piece of work.
    The contrast to their inexcusably, offensively stupid ‘down’ commercials, is stark.

    Their marketing team can’t hide behind the “it’s for a different purpose” excuse either.
    That would be like a serial wife-basher taking his victim out to a nice dinner once a year, before resuming his ugly practice.

    So Coles, now that there’s no excuse – such as “sorry but our ad agency is totally inept, hence the down down ads’ – we can expect this standard in the future? No?

  11. Peter Petrovski
    27 Jul 12
    3:10 pm

  12. Agree with the other Pete, like it much more than those down down ads.

  13. LB
    27 Jul 12
    3:29 pm

  14. Love it. Made me tear up (ok, so I am a big softy)
    Great work by everyone concerned.
    Wish there was more advertising like it – clever & full of heart.

  15. I Harrison
    27 Jul 12
    3:29 pm

  16. That’s what I love about the Olympics. All the Games and telecast sponsors come up with creative that pulls at our heart strings and make us feel proud to be Aussie. Without winning one single medal!

  17. Bob
    27 Jul 12
    3:30 pm

  18. Bad continuity at 0:28 – she is shown running with her hands folded like a partially closed fist, and in the next shot her hands are straight out.

  19. Betty
    27 Jul 12
    3:32 pm

  20. @ Mike

    Why so down on the Down Down ads – they are effective ads which do the job nicely.

    Don’t be so snotty about effective supermarket ads.

  21. Greg
    27 Jul 12
    3:47 pm

  22. Are we watching the same ad? This doesn’t pull at heart strings at all. It’s nice, sure, but ’emotive’ is a big stretch. Watch the video of Cathy’s win in 2000 – that was emotive. This commercial is just…pleasant. But that’s all.

  23. Hmmmm...
    27 Jul 12
    3:55 pm

  24. It’s like a bad copy of a master’s painting:

    Clunky, obvious and utterly lacking in the filmmaking craft needed to create a genuine emotional reaction.

  25. Gj
    27 Jul 12
    10:10 pm

  26. When did Cathy die ?

  27. Jo
    28 Jul 12
    10:50 am

  28. Brilliant scenery…. But I’m biased because that is where I grew up! That’s our farm! What a thrill to see the finished product !

  29. Red hand cynic
    28 Jul 12
    12:00 pm

  30. Cole (marketing team) this makes it clear there is no brand strategy, meaning or tone of voice for the Coles brand. Nothing except cheap. All woolworths has to do is price match whilst promising ‘fresh’ and they win. I predict a very quick unravelling for Coles and its red hand

  31. Albie
    28 Jul 12
    3:23 pm

  32. I think the beautiful music is by Ennio Morricone from a famous film: Is it 1900?

    Does anyone know?

    Thank you


  33. leo
    28 Jul 12
    3:29 pm

  34. what it is the backing music? anyone know? i think it was used in the film “once upon a time in america” too.
    thanks in advance

  35. catherine
    28 Jul 12
    5:30 pm

  36. Celin Dion sings it beautifully. “I knew I loved You” from “Once upon a time in America- a very violent movie about gangsters….
    I have always put songs to adds and the relevance to the coles add with this choice is uhhhh interesting?
    Loved the comment from Gj- did Cathy die?

  37. catherine
    28 Jul 12
    5:31 pm

  38. Utube to see Celin Dion singing it or you can hear the orchestra track looking for the movie title

  39. LW
    28 Jul 12
    6:09 pm

  40. Somebody give ghost Cathy some ghost chips!

  41. AEH
    28 Jul 12
    9:54 pm

  42. thank you for identifying the music. It’s been driving me mad … you know, when you know you ought to know something but you can’t quite grasp it. The odd thing is that I’ve never seen that movie.
    I like the add and I’m afraid I got teary in it.

  43. Gb
    28 Jul 12
    10:25 pm

  44. The girl runs like a duck which somewhat ruins the ad for me.

  45. BC
    29 Jul 12
    4:26 am

  46. Pretty good Commercial for the Olympic sponsorship theme (made even better by the brilliant decision not to have Cathy speak at any point in the commercial).

    Music is: “Deborah’s Theme” By Ennio Morricone from: Once Upon A Time In America.”

    Anyone studying marketing, should read Red Hand Cynic’s comment above and file it under “get a clue”.

  47. brendan
    29 Jul 12
    7:49 am

  48. I think the Coles ad for the Olympics is cool and i also think it’s good to see that girl running in the fields dreaming of running in the Olympics for Australia is awesome and i hope she makes it to the Olympics one day and i thank Coles for supporting Olympic dreams

  49. leo
    29 Jul 12
    9:56 am

  50. thank you BC. much appreciated.

  51. haha-nielson
    29 Jul 12
    2:59 pm

  52. run as fast as you can, one day you will be a supermarket ambassador !

  53. Matthew
    29 Jul 12
    9:10 pm

  54. Gj’s comment is a gold medal winner. Personally that ad gets 3/10 for me. Uninspiring and although aesthetically pleasing, i found the whole ‘ghost of Cathy’ a little strange.

  55. Kieran Lee
    29 Jul 12
    9:58 pm

  56. Once Upon a Time in America is one of my all time favourite films- isn’t it ironic Coles are using the theme music from a film with America in its title by an Italian composer to announce they are proudly Australian?

  57. Ad guy
    30 Jul 12
    12:12 pm

  58. I was waiting for Cathy to pull out a big red hand and wave it around like an idiot.

  59. Shabbadu
    30 Jul 12
    1:20 pm

  60. Ghost chip…brilliant.

  61. Nicholas
    30 Jul 12
    2:31 pm

  62. This is just a bit meh to me. Woolworths will always be the best supermarket in Australia in my opinion, basically as Coles ‘supermarkets’ just look and act like big convenience stores. It’s a nice idea and it will inspire some people, but its all a bit too try-hard.

  63. betty
    30 Jul 12
    4:21 pm

  64. i know that girl lol

  65. me
    30 Jul 12
    7:03 pm

  66. Who is the young runner?
    Is she a junior athlete or just some actress?

  67. Maree
    31 Jul 12
    11:24 am

  68. Great ad – very emotive and succeeds at inspiring. Oh, and I think the “down, down” campaign finally using Status Quo is brilliant. I actually want to listen rather than reaching for the mute button. Same with the Olympic ad because the music is so nice.

  69. Bevan and Robyn
    31 Jul 12
    8:15 pm

  70. Please tell us, is the girl an up and coming runner or an actor?
    Oh, love the ad. Got all teary the first time we saw it.

  71. Brenda
    1 Aug 12
    7:02 am

  72. Beautiful ad. Up there with the anzac “No, thank you” The you girl was chosen to look like a young Cathy and Cathy is Cathy as she is today, no frills, no airbrush, a true blue proud of you Cathy.

  73. Cathy F
    1 Aug 12
    10:13 am

  74. Anybody else a bit unsettled about the line “Coles are…” as opposed to “Coles is…”?

  75. Rob R
    1 Aug 12
    10:16 am

  76. It didn’t need the “ghost” of Cathy, it makes it weird especially with the halo lighting… It’s just like 100 scenes from movies when a vision of a dead person appears… It’s a great ad up till that point and if it had ended with the commentary and the bottle on the finish line it would have been near perfect but they over cooked it, it’s a 6 from me….

  77. Keith
    1 Aug 12
    9:52 pm

  78. YES – the music is from ONCE UPON A TIME IN AMERICA by Ennio Morricone – it is rich and haunting. it works perfectly in the ad – has sadness at the same time gives hope.

    Great movie, main character living a life of regrets and devastated when he discovers he has been betrayed.

  79. ItI
    1 Aug 12
    10:12 pm

  80. Yeah that score is off the film “Once upon a time in America” called Deborah’s Theme..I thought I heard it somewhere….However, I love the ad – it’s inspiring….

  81. bb
    3 Aug 12
    10:33 pm

  82. Great ad. I actually looked it up after seeing it on tv…

  83. Tom
    5 Aug 12
    2:26 am

  84. Unlike any other Coles ad I’ve seen, at least this one is relatively tasteful. Their previous ads have virtually stopped me shopping there, particularly since my local store persists in playing their crass jingles all the time! I don’t like Quo, Down Down is one of their worst tracks, and it’s a lie anyway. No supermarket puts all their prices down at the same time, they just have a succession of loss-leaders. This is all about perpetuating the myth that Coles and Woolies are in competition, whereas, in fact, they operate a cosy monopoly that keeps prices high.

  85. tchazza
    11 Aug 12
    10:58 am

  86. I loved the add but within several airings I soon grew very sick of it as they seemed to put it on every 5 minutes!