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New York Life’s Super Bowl Ad Broke Down the Four Types of Love, C.S. Lewis-Style

You watch the Super Bowl for the game, the halftime show, the ads or some combination of the three, and all were humming at better-than-usual levels on Sunday night’s match-up between the Kansas City Chiefs and the San Francisco 49ers.

The game was thrillingly close right up until the Chiefs pulled ahead in the final quarter, Shakira and Jennifer Lopez brought a thrilling celebration of Latina culture to Hard Rock Stadium and the ads had some decent moments of jokey decadence and canned pathos. But some viewers may have recognized some of the lessons from New York Life’s ad, which featured a crash course in the four Greek words for love — famously written about by C.S. Lewis in his classic The Four Loves.

Over a gentle montage of friends and lovers, Tessa Thompson breaks down philía (love between friends), storgē (familial love), eros (romantic love) and agápē (love in action). As exorbitant advertising goes for a for-profit insurance company goes, you could do a lot worse.

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Of course, the ad must soon collapse as all ads must into the actual sales pitch, but it’s nevertheless a pretty solid exploration of the grandest and most divine human experience.

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