Once upon a time, there were fairy tales that followed the same formula – girl is oppressed by a villain and is in need of rescue, a handsome prince comes along and rescues said girl, and they live happily ever after. But what if the girl really didn’t need rescuing? What if, instead of meekly saying “Yes” to her oppressor, she stood up and said “NO” and completely changed the narrative?
Well, thanks to a collaboration between Amy Poehler, Rashida Jones, and Pure Leaf iced tea, we’re about to find out. The series entitled, “Once Upon A No,” turns classic fairy tales into modern-day tales with a twist. And you’re going to love them.
In each of the segments, Amy is sitting on a throne in front of an idyllic woodland background while soft music is playing. What makes them hilarious isn’t just the story itself — it’s Amy’s delivery, her facial expressions, and the abrupt halt to the music.
In the first of three tales, Amy takes on the Princess and the Pea. In the original story, the princess has to prove that she is a real princess by sleeping on a huge stack of mattresses. If she feels the hidden pea, she is deemed worthy of marrying the prince. But this princess? Isn’t having it. When the Queen tells her to go to bed, the princess responds:
No. I’m not climbing up there. I’m afraid of heights. Plus, some of these mattresses look questionable. And it’s very hot and it’s very stuffy in here. Can someone please get me a drink?
The prince rushes to do her bidding and tells her how much he loves that she isn’t afraid to say no. The End.
The moral of the story? “You don’t always have to be agreeable, and I agree with that.”
In a reimagined Rapunzel, Amy refuses to let down her hair for the evil witch who has locked her in the tower.
Uh, let me think about it. No. Nooooo. Either build a staircase or install an elevator, m-kay?
She then proceeds to cut her split-end ridden locks into a cute pixie cut and makes the prince come to her. And they all live happily ever after.
The moral of the story? “Do what’s best for you, and not what others are expecting.”
The final commercial features the tale of Hansel and Gretel. In the original story, the siblings’ evil stepmother sends them deep into the forest in the hopes that they will get lost and be eaten by a cannibalistic witch. (I know, lovely).
But when Hans suggests they drop some breadcrumbs, Gretel replies:
No. What is with the breadcrumbs? Why are you obsessed with breadcrumbs?And by the way, what is the hurry to get back to our evil stepmother anyway? How about we have a little bread, maybe sip a little iced tea, I don’t know, chat up a few squirrels…
They never do end up going to the creepy Gingerbread House in the woods and Gretel has her first 40,000 step day. The End.
The moral of the story? “Don’t rush through life. Stop and talk to the squirrels along the way. They’re fascinating characters and they love tea!”
The 60-second ads are all part of Pure Leaf’s “No Is Beautiful” campaign, which highlights its commitment to saying no to artificial flavors, tea powders, and concentrates. It hopes to inspire people to say “no” to the things that don’t matter in tea AND in life, so they can say “yes” to more of the things that do.
Katrina McDonald, senior director of the Pepsi Lipton Partnership explains:
Saying no is at the heart of how we brew our iced tea. At Pure Leaf we embrace the beauty of saying no, but also understand that today’s society operates differently. To-do lists grow and there is overwhelming pressure to say yes to everything and do it all. We wanted this campaign to remind people that saying ‘yes’ to more ‘no’ isn’t always a bad thing because no is beautiful.
Pure Leaf surveyed 2600 men and women and found that 70% of people feel pressure at work. However, only 1/3 of men feel like they have to always say “yes” compared to 1/2 of the women. Researchers also found that 85% of women agree that “saying yes to too much negatively impacts their quality of life and 86% feel that being allowed to say no to more would be liberating.”
While the reimagined fairy tales are hilarious, they do shed light on a much deeper issue that people, and particularly women, face. The struggle to set boundaries and do what is best for ourselves, and not everyone else, is real. And it’s taking its toll on our physical health and our mental well-being and preventing us from living our best lives.
What would happen if we chose to change the narrative in our own lives? Instead of always saying “Yes,” learn the power of saying “No.” It’s time we all created our own happily ever after.