Archive for the ‘Video’ Category

Here are a couple of tv spots that caught my attention today. The first is a Guinness commercial from 1999 that I’ve never seen, but seems iconic enough to hold a spot near Apple’s 1984 commercial.

The second is a very cleverly done Volkswagen commercial – it’s always nice to see a car commercial that does something different. Enjoy.

Found on AdFreak.

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In a new spot for Schweppes, something as simple as a bursting water balloon becomes a ballet of exquisite beauty. Using high-speed cameras and actors, and almost no visual effects, director Garth Davis creates a stillness filled with potential, capturing tiny moments of time that could be chaotic but in his hands become crackling, magical pockets of unreleased energy. The soundtrack couldn’t be more perfect (“To Build a Home” by The Cinematic Orchestra), easing into the sound with naked piano chords that elevate in tempo and intensity as the balloons begin to explode.

The mesmerizing quality of the spot leads to the brand reveal at the end, which disrupts the flow somewhat – the viewer must reach for the connection to a company that makes tonic water – but it’s easy to reason that away by simplifying the message to fizz-bubbles-popping balloons. If one goes further it becomes a bit more complicated – are we talking about refreshing? Celebratory? Childlike? Perhaps, but for a product that is normally mixed with booze, maybe those aren’t the connections we are looking for.

A great interview with the director is featured on Creativity Online today. It’s wonderful insight into the work that goes into making this work of beauty.

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Posted on Veer yesterday, a fantastic student project hypothesizing what the Star Wars titles would have looked like if the fabulous Saul Bass had done them. Complete with jazzy soundtrack and spot-on for the distinctive Bass style. There’s also a link in the video responses where someone took the titles and “remastered” them á la the “improved” version of the original classic movie. Absolutely fantastic, and an especial pleasure for those film/design geeks out there.

Also on Veer, an intriguing series of art pieces has been created by distilling the pages of certain magazines down to specific elements (advertising logos or headlines, for example) and then combining them on a single black and white page. It’s a fascinating look at the style of certain magazines, either quite restrained and clean (National Geographic) or in-your-face advertising hurricane (Vogue). They are also very pretty, from a stark graphic point of view.

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Found on Veer today, a blog called Future Trash on which a large number of intricate illustrations are posted, inviting the curious to sit and stare at the bizarre details for way too long. There’s an alphabet neighborhood in which each house is built inside of a letter, each with its own quirks and eccentricities. Also featured is “crash/canal,” a twisted labyrinth of roads filled with all manner of happenings. Oddly, both of these mini-verses seem to be entirely devoid of people, making me wonder if these are visions of a place or time when something went horribly wrong, a la the creepy-looking movie coming out on Friday the 13th in June about the world’s flora poisoning all those bad humans. In any case, these intriguing drawings remind me of exploring Richard Scarry books as a kid or doodling elaborate stick-figure worlds in my Geography notebooks in high school. Fun stuff.

Also, continuing the excellent trend of creating end titles that keep viewers rooted to their seats long after a movie ends, Communication Arts recognizes the gorgeous titles from Enchanted by Yuco. Featuring hand-illustrated imagery composited with 2-D and 3-D elements and lush typography that grows into each scene, the work is entertaining as a stand-alone piece of artwork and joins other such end-title gems as the titles for Lemony Snicket. Good luck navigating the Yuco website, however – the branching lines effect can really get irritating when you’re trying to find something specific.

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In a beautifully crafted ad by Campbell Ewald, a little girl is raised by two doting parents and a helpful assembly line robot, quickly transitioning through such important milestones as first steps, learning to ride a bicycle, rebellious teen and graduation. Then, once the girl has reached the age to fully realize her potential, she is niftily packaged up into a Chevrolet assembled around her, safely buckled in and sent on her merry way.

Several things strike me about the storytelling in this ad. Just about every milestone in this girl’s life is vehicle-related – from the toy keys she gets as an infant to the variety of wheels she uses as she grows up. The connection between her reaching for the toy keys and the final reach for the key to her assembled car is a very nice way to pull it all together. The use of the assembly line robot has been tried several times, sometimes with controversial results (like last year’s suicidal robot), but this seems to be the friendliest robot so far. The soundtrack (Oren Lavie’s “Her Morning Elegance,” which is a similar funky, muttering alternative sound to many other car commercials) gives an easygoing, lighthearted but heartfelt motion to the piece. But finally, when the commercial is over and I’m watching her drive away into the sunset, I’m left with a feeling of letdown. Why?

I think it has to do with the underlying message here. I know they were trying to communicate that Chevrolet can be trusted with your family, but what I got out of it was something a bit more depressing: that the ultimate destination of this young girl’s life is the driver’s seat of a sedan, by herself. One person, one car. Prepared throughout her life to commute. It reminds me of a song I used to sing along with as a kid, before I knew what the message really was: Little boxes, on the hillside, little boxes made of ticky tacky… you know how it goes: All the people grow up, and they all get put into the boxes which are all the same, and they all play golf and drink the same drinks and have cute kids and all the kids grow up and do the whole thing all over again. It’s a sad thought to me that this girl, glowing and twirling in a snowstorm of flower petals at her graduation, throws her hat into the air, and then is quickly assisted into the seat of a car, zipped up, locked in, handed a key and told, “Go, drive the streets and highways for the rest of your life.” And, we can only assume, marry a man in another car and make a cute baby to raise on your own car assembly line and teach to grow and strive toward a car of her own. 

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In a fresh re-imagining of the “please don’t talk during the movie” spot that plays just before the titles come up, Martin Scorsese barges in on a sweet phone call between a little boy and his daddy. It’s clever, hysterical, and WAY better than the annoying “sound effects” one that we usually get, complete with wailing baby that sounds just a tad too real.

Friday Juicy Site Bonus: A blog all about package design. Some of it I’ve seen, some is new, all is gorgeous. The author seems attracted to the crisp, clean graphic design that is cutting through the clutter lately. Bravo! I’ll be adding this blog to my rotation, so expect to see reviews on some of this stuff in the future.

Found on Veer 

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A new ad for Commonwealth Bank begins with a confusing mix of punk koala bears driving Mad Max-style vehicles through the outback, a Crocodile Dundee guy making rebel yells and tossing a boomerang, and an over-the-top voice-over straight out of the movie trailers. Then comes the exploding logo – and camera pans out to reveal the “ad” playing on a flat screen tv in a conference room, several giddy agency guys patting each other on the back and dropping comments about the lengths they went to in order to make the comp – and the three clients sitting silently looking slightly shocked. In the end they say they like only the last two seconds, much to the dismay of the presenters.

Looking at the comments that have been made about this ad on YouTube, it appears that some people aren’t catching on to the sarcasm. It seems that the ad agency (Goodby, Silverstein &Partners) is making fun of ad agencies in order to show their clients as level headed, uninterested in overbudgeted exploding cliché-filled ads like this one presented by the ubiquitous “American Ad Agency.” Michael Bay, a director well-known for blowing things up and over-editing, is mentioned as having paid his own money to get the comp made for the clients.

Apparently there will be a continuation of this theme in a mockumentary style, following the clueless advertising team as they attempt to put together an ad the bank likes. My guess is this will culminate in a new ad campaign reflecting the message underneath the sarcasm, that this bank is interested in the “real” and not the glitz. For now, they’re stirring up emotion as Australians take offense at the blatant stereotyping. For my part, I find it refreshing to see a major agency making fun of itself – while at the same time making the point that bigger isn’t always better, and hopefully we’ll end up with a clean, crisp, succinct message at the conclusion worthy of the comparison.

Found on AdFreak.

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