03 November 2011
Gerry Moira recently described writing Private View. He said: "Whatever I have to say is irrelevant, so I might as well try to make it amusing."
This is good advice for writing a Private View.
Unfortunately, it also seems to be the prevailing attitude to making advertising: "There isn't any point in trying to persuade anyone of anything, so let's just make it amusing."
That's how we make ads nowadays.
So, if there's no point to ads except trying to be amusing, here's a joke from my favourite website called Old Jews Telling Jokes.
Two Jewish guys, Abbie and Morrie, are walking past a church. Outside is a sign: "$100 for anyone who converts to Christianity."
Abbie says :"$100 - that's a good deal. I'm gonna do it."
Morrie says: "You'd give up your heritage for $100?"
Abbie says: "I won't really convert. I'll take the money and pretend I converted."
Morrie says: "It's blasphemy - don't do it."
Abbie says :"It's good business - I'm doing it."
Morrie says: "Well, I won't do it."
Abbie says: "Fine, so wait here, I'll be out in ten minutes with the money."
So Abbie goes in and Morrie waits.
And he waits.
Ten minutes, 20 minutes, half an hour.
Eventually, Abbie comes out.
Morrie says: "So, did you get the $100?"
Abbie looks down his nose at him and says: "Money? Is that all you people ever think about?"
Now, that's a good joke.
And it's kind of how I felt after looking through the ads I was sent. Except I thought: "Sex? Is that all you people ever think about?"
(Segue: see what I did there?)
Now, of course, sometimes sex is relevant. But you don't have to force it in everywhere (in a manner of speaking).
Lynx, of course, is about sex.
So the ad is beautifully made, featuring an absolutely drop-dead gorgeous girl. Oy, what's not to like?
And, of course, Pretty Polly is similar.
A young woman, with legs as long as Dr Who's scarf, in suspenders and stiletto heels. I think we can work out the deftly hidden subtext.
But then Sony had a more gentle take on sex.
Two attractive young people coming together (you should pardon the expression) over a Leonard Cohen poem. Beautifully shot with amazing CG, as we've come to expect from Grey.
McDonald's, meanwhile, had a more wistful take on sex.
A young man in love, singing On The Street Where You Live. We think he is imagining a tryst with his inamorata, but (sadly, perhaps) his heart's desire turns out to be a hamburger.
And Morrisons featured sex at the distant remove of marriage.
Freddie Flintoff is tempted to experiment with French, Italian or even Indian delights with his wife. But, finally, he slips her a good old portion of Lancashire Hot Pot, and she's completely satisfied.
It seems the only exception to the rule were the latest posters for Mini.
But wait, these are no mere posters.
I can only open them as stills, but the press release informs us that they are "an outdoor campaign across a combination of large format, special builds and Transvision screens. On selected sites, the characters will move, creating and evolving an adventure."
So, we don't know what it will say about the car, but it will certainly be an impressive display for a new form of media interactive technology. Sounds totally in keeping with the current theory of advertising.
Which is, to paraphrase Gerry Moira: "Whatever we have to say is irrelevant, so we might as well try to make it amusing."
I like a bit of slow motion myself. I've been guilty of overusing it a few times over the years. This Sony ad is obviously a copy and paste with more money etc of a nicely executed short film called Nuit Blanche by (I think and hope) the same director who did this one.
The ad is beautifully executed: great CG, nice lighting, decent cast. It looks very good in many ways, but it is overly polished to a degree where the polish becomes a problem. For me, it is too perfect: there is no texture, no grit, no reality in it at all and, above all, no emotion. Obviously, this is a fairytale, but I do lose connection in it very early on. I try to make sense of the Leonard Cohen voiceover, but it doesn't ring true either. I can't see the connection to his words and this film. I miss expressions in the faces and some interaction with what is going on - they feel like they are floating through the environment. It is visually impressive but emotionally disconnected.
The original short film is the opposite of this ad. The short made me jealous; this just makes me a bit bored. I don't see why they didn't try to repeat the emotion of the short instead of just the imagery.
I'm afraid that, in the end, this whole ad does the opposite of the tagline. You don't feel; you just watch.
McDonald's. As a film, it's nicely shot and cut. Not sure about the images that match the lyrics, though. When the film starts, you hope that this will lead somewhere nice, but then, as the fake smiles are spreading through the film, you kind of get suspicious that this will not end well. What started out light and fluid starts feeling a bit heavy-handed. If only the reactions of the people he was passing felt a little bit more sincere, and if the guy himself didn't feel so smug ...
He starts out really good, but then you just want him to trip over.
That said, I do kind of like the way it's done. Or maybe I don't - can't really make my mind up. Well, all in all, a nice little film, but it kind of gives you the aftertaste of a McDonald's meal: you feel a little bloated and a bit sick to your stomach. You just want to get in your car and drive away fast; pretend that it didn't happen.
Food: very, very hard to pull off in an ad. And it doesn't work for Morrisons either, I'm afraid. The film has a man who appears to be very large, walking around in an even larger T-shirt - or, actually, two enormous T-shirts - and harassing small chefs.
I'm not British, so this guy, for me, just becomes a not-so-great actor walking around in a set. There is really nothing for me to like here: not the lighting, not the direction, not the camera work nor the product. The gratuitous food shots peppered throughout just makes the end product, those sad-looking little plastic boxes, look really unappetising. And, at the end, when the wife comes home and they sit in their £3 million house, eating plastic food? I don't think so.
This Mini ad is a bit hard for me to see as I don't have access to how it is meant to be seen. Of what I can judge, though, it seems to be pretty fun. Quite like the simple childish take on it. Like the fire extinguisher against a raptor.
Pretty Polly. I don't wear stockings that often - don't really have the legs for it. But I did think that it was a pretty nice take on the old stocking ad. The comic book take on the impact of the stockings works for me, as it adds a bit of humour to it.
Back in my comfort zone of film.
I wish they had made these Lynx angels into more than models with wings. Don't get me wrong, the wings are really well done and look great, so do the girls, but I just feel that they should be more otherworldly somehow, more elevated, more magical.
This film is a lighter follow-up to the "fallen angel" campaign and obviously shows us that it's not all that easy to be dating an angel. I feel it's a bit overacted - the guy could have been more subtle in his reactions - but apart from that, it's quite nice on all fronts.