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Gatorade's tremendous Peyton Manning NFL Draft ad hits you right in the feels

WATCH: Gatorade Pays Tribute to Peyton

Gatorade dropped an ad starring Peyton Manning on Thursday morning, timed to coincide with the NFL Draft later that afternoon. Manning, the top overall pick of the 1998 draft, retired earlier this year following a legendary career.

It's a forced connection to a trending news event. It's a spot clearly intended to tug our little heartstrings. It's obviously designed to tap into an emotionally resonant vein and shoot a massive dose of good ol' commodity fetishism right up that mothertrucker — all in the name of selling Gatorade.

We know all this. We are "woke," as the kids say. But — dadgummit! — the spot still works like a charm.

SEE ALSO: Why the insufferable Skip Bayless leaving ESPN is actually bad news for sports fans

Called "Dear Peyton," the new Gatorade ad is inspired by Manning's apparent longtime habit of writing letters of appreciation and gratitude to important people in his life.

We see former fans, family members, former teammates and former coaches share what Manning wrote to them at various points over the past many years. They read his own words back to him over some folksy acoustic music. (There's even a harmonica! Think Bruce Springsteen, "The River" vibes.)

It's easy to get cynical about the ways in which brands glom on to the news, especially with a player whose NFL career ended months ago. But — "sincerely," as Manning signs his letters — this is one well-done spot. Now go hug someone you love.

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See photos from Peyton Manning's retirement announcement

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Peyton Manning retirement announcement
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Gatorade's tremendous Peyton Manning NFL Draft ad hits you right in the feels
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 07: Quarterback Peyton Manning greets former teammates Jeff Saturday and Brandon Stokley after announcing his retirement from the NFL at the UCHealth Training Center on March 7, 2016 in Englewood, Colorado. Manning, who played for both the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos in a career which spanned 18 years, is the NFL's all-time leader in passing touchdowns (539), passing yards (71,940) and tied for regular season QB wins (186). Manning played his final game last month as the winning quarterback in Super Bowl 50 in which the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, earning Manning his second Super Bowl title. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 07: Peyton Manning (C) poses with his daughter Mosley, his son Marshall, and former Denver Broncos teammates including Brandon Stokley, Brandon Marshall, Demaryius Thomas, Ty Sambrailo, Emmanuel Sanders, David Bruton, and Von Miller following his announcment that he is retiring from the NFL at the UCHealth Training Center on March 7, 2016 in Englewood, Colorado. Manning, who played for both the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos in a career which spanned 18 years, is the NFL's all-time leader in passing touchdowns (539), passing yards (71,940) and tied for regular season QB wins (186). Manning played his final game last month as the winning quarterback in Super Bowl 50 in which the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, earning Manning his second Super Bowl title. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 07: Quarterback Peyton Manning poses for a photograph with former teammate Kenny Anunike after announcing his retirement from the NFL at the UCHealth Training Center on March 7, 2016 in Englewood, Colorado. Manning, who played for both the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos in a career which spanned 18 years, is the NFL's all-time leader in passing touchdowns (539), passing yards (71,940) and tied for regular season QB wins (186). Manning played his final game last month as the winning quarterback in Super Bowl 50 in which the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, earning Manning his second Super Bowl title. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 07: Quarterback Peyton Manning holds a game ball presented to him by the Denver Broncos after announcing his retirement from the NFL at the UCHealth Training Center on March 7, 2016 in Englewood, Colorado. Manning, who played for both the Indianapolis Colts and Denver Broncos in a career which spanned 18 years, is the NFL's all-time leader in passing touchdowns (539), passing yards (71,940) and tied for regular season QB wins (186). Manning played his final game last month as the winning quarterback in Super Bowl 50 in which the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers, earning Manning his second Super Bowl title. (Photo by Doug Pensinger/Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 07: The Denver Broncos hold a press conference to announce the retirement of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning at UCHealth Training Center March 7, 2016 at UCHealth Training Center in Englewood, CO. (Photo By Joe Amon/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
ENGLEWOOD, CO - MARCH 07: Peyton Manning smiles as he answers questions during his press conference. The Denver Broncos hold a press conference to announce the retirement of Denver Broncos quarterback Peyton Manning March 7, 2016 at UCHealth Training Center. (Photo By John Leyba/The Denver Post via Getty Images)
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