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'The most touching TV ad I've ever seen.' Why Westpac's latest ad is bringing people to tears.

Westpac’s new ad to promote its separation hub had unsuspecting viewers in tears when it played during a Married At First Sight ad break on Sunday night.

The advertisement, by Westpac and advertising agency DDB, depicts the story of a family going through a separation, from the perspective of a young boy as he helps his parents navigate the change in their lives.

The boy decorates the house with Christmas lights to cheer up his mum. He watches her struggle with her finances and is protective of her around men. When his dad comes to pick him up, they travel in silence on the train and then read a book in bed.

It’s an honest and rather heartwrenching look at family separation.

When the commercial began airing on Sunday, those watching Married At First Sight had the drama interrupted by the emotional ad and shared their feelings on Twitter.

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It’s no wonder the ad hit a nerve. It was directed by Australian director Garth Davis, whose powerful film Lion was nominated for six Academy Awards in 2017. That, too, was a tearjerker.

For many Australians, the predicament depicted in the ad will resonate on a deeper level. In 2016, there were 118,401 marriages in Australia and 46,604 divorces according to statistics from Budget Direct.

Divorce – and obviously separations of non-married couples that aren’t reflected in these numbers – impacts thousands of families throughout the country.

According to Westpac’s new Finances and Separation report of Australian couples considering, going through or who have gone through a separation, couples who rarely spoke about their finances with their partner were more likely (68 per cent) to report that they were not in a financially healthy position than those who spoke about them more openly (54 per cent).

Women are more likely (47 per cent) than men (41 per cent) to experience a form of financial insecurity, most notably trouble supporting others, having to take on more work and live off a single income, according to the report.

It found that women (93 per cent) are slightly more likely than men (88 per cent) to have been open with their ex-partner about their financial situation before they got together. Fifteen percent of women have never spoken to their ex-partners about finances within their relationship, compared with nine percent of men.

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