21 June 2012
"How does that work in my favour?" This was once asked of me on a first date at 2am, after I’d enquired as to whether my date might be more comfortable coming back to mine. How, indeed? Back then, I simply thought she was too drunk to fully comprehend the sheer awesomeness of what was on offer. Her loss. But, of course, she had a point and, to use her words, not one that worked in my favour (12 hours later, it was a different story, but that’s for another time).
Misguided and hasty though her comment was, it springs to mind now, having lost several minutes of my life reviewing the work you see before you. None of this works in my favour. I’m not going to win any friends with this feedback: not in my favour. None of the work adds richness to my life: not in my favour. None of it makes me any better at anything: again, not in my favour. The point being that, unless it contributes or adds to my life, anyone else’s or society as a whole, advertising is pollution. The Pearl & Dean work is clearly very beautiful, but also utterly pointless. What is it for? What do I do with it? Am I, as a member of the audience, meant to think "hey, I’m going to advertise at the cinema"? Or am I simply meant to appreciate the "piece"? Is it just more fluff? I don’t have these answers.
Doritos, on the other hand, I completely understood, but just found depressing. Desaturated dullness. It actually lowered my spirits. Not what was intended, I’m guessing.
DHL. Couldn’t they have spent the money creating something useful instead of more corporate porn? Apparently not.
Samsung. Did he actually do that? No. No, he didn’t. Oh. But did they manage to fit in some useful product features and benefits? Yes. Yes, they did.
If BMW is the ultimate driving machine, then it follows that BMW Ultimate Track should be a frictionless combination of the power, technical prowess and aesthetics of the iPhone and BMW. Sadly, though, they appear to have missed that turning.
Diesel’s dogs, however, made me smile. I liked the idea, it was produced with care, and it took the piss without becoming too self-conscious.
But I’m not inspired. And I find that deflating. I’m not trying to be deliberately offensive to anyone; I’m just being honest. I’d wanted to be wowed. I’d wanted to feel envy. To wish we’d done the work I was reviewing. But, instead, I feel I’ve been witness to the desperate failings of brands and marketers groping for relevancy and attention, but instead just creating more of exactly what the world doesn’t need: pollution.
Now, how does that work in my favour? It doesn’t.
I was born and raised in advertising. My parents worked in the industry, so I grew up spending afternoons at their agencies, watching director reels, like any kid would, over and over and over. Until the U-matic tapes gave in. I’d watch anything, although Joe Sedelmaier’s reel was usually at the top of the list. But the most precious tapes were the imports from England neatly organised on the "foreign" shelf. There was something special about those spots; the more I watched them, the more I fell in love.
I’ve always admired British advertising for its elegance, wit and impeccable craft. So, if some of the criticism here seems harsh, I apologise. It’s because you set the bar pretty damn high.
It seems unfair to judge this Pearl & Dean spot online without watching it in its full cinematic glory, with surround sound and popcorn. The picture and sound in the beginning definitely draw you in. It’s not like we haven’t seen enough commercials mimicking blockbuster trailers, but this one does a nice job. Extra points for not featuring a deep-voiced announcer saying: "In a world…"
While the review at the end is surprising, it also feels a little anticlimactic. The promise that cinema advertising can make the ordinary extraordinary seems appropriate. Yet I can’t help but wonder what they are referring to as ordinary. Have an ordinary spot? Got the right placement for you.
Thank God for Diesel eyewear freeing us from a world of gorgeous-looking models with slow-motion hair and sculpted bodies glistening under impossibly gold sunlight. Enough already. Bring me an Afghan hound with slow-motion hair instead. You have to admire Diesel’s sense of humour and audacity for challenging the fashion-advertising status quo and taking a big risk with it (I bet this didn’t test well with cat people). Good job, Diesel. You deserve a treat.
Doritos. Mariachi singing 80s British pop? Genius. You had me at "Her name is Rio, and she dances on the sand." The idea is simple, and the spot is fun to watch. Who can resist lovable Mexican men belting out Don’t You Want Me? Perfect comedic timing in the chorus, by the way. As a bonus, the band promises to bring some party to your party by performing a live gig for some lucky Facebook fans. Me gusta!
David Beckham spots are a dime a dozen. In the US, we’ve seen him pitching anything from underwear to fruit smoothies (don’t ask me why). At least in this online Samsung video, he’s doing what he does best: playing football. It is entertaining to watch him perfectly scoring Beethoven’s Ode To Joy by hitting a wall of drums with a football. Let’s be clear: the spot feels contrived and you don’t believe in it for a second, but it’s entertaining nonetheless. What I don’t really get is how this sells Samsung phones. But then again, the man certainly has a proven track record, so it must sell.
I drive a 3 Series, own an iPad and work in advertising, so it’s safe to say that I’m the target for this BMW app. The game is nicely designed. I love the fact that you can draw your own track and test-drive the car on it. And if you’re feeling competitive, you can challenge other BMW drivers who own iPads and work in advertising to a race. Mano-a-mano.
I really want to like DHL’s "speed of yellow" spot, but I can’t say I do. It’s nicely shot and looks expensive, uplifting and definitely global (check, check, check). But it also looks a bit generic and confusing. The line "Delivering Manchester United to the world", when combined with the images of video monitors and JumboTrons, feels strangely more appropriate for a TV network than a shipping courier. I’m left thinking: what’s DHL’s role in this story? But one could argue that at least I’m thinking about DHL. That’s not such a bad thing.