Wednesday, 24 June 2015

just for effect

Commercials built on an effect all too often end up as nothing more than a vehicle for the effect itself, a marvellously pointless visual feast from the director and his post-production guys. This in no way negates using the many sumptuous effects lurking out there, adland has a long and often stunning history of bending them to embellish a good tale. The Rhapsody Music ad by Droga5 New York, for instance is a good idea well achieved, of course it also has tracks by Kraak & Smaak and David Bowie to help it bounce nicely along, but the idea is the key not the FX.

New Zealand. A place of calmness, home to zillions of sheep, a couple of dozen people and a handful of hobbits. And The Dark Lord, of course.
Maybe it was the filming of Mr Jackson’s trilogy of middle-earth that awakened something dark and disturbing in the national psyche, or maybe they’ve always had a darker side but have been too far away for anyone to give a damn. Whatever the truth, the ad for Stihl power tools by DDB positively drips with the dark side of humour.
Put together by creative team James Tucker and Simon Vicars and directed by Adam Stevens of Robbers Dog Films it’s an interesting take on a real life moment, it appears to touch a significant spot somewhere deep within my ex-goth art director who growls approvingly from behind her Versace sunglasses, watch it to death at:
Adrian Cooper of Media matters, a New Zealand standards watchdog, feels that DDB and Stihl have crossed the good taste line. "I was really horrified,” he says, “I thought, this is not good enough, it's simply not good enough, and it's not the New Zealand I know."

The ad prompted a flurry of complaints to the Broadcasting and Advertising Standards authorities. "I think that any mature, responsible, thinking adults looking at that would find it offensive," says Mr. Cooper.
Personally, and I realise there’s not a whole heap to do in New Zealand, but if this is the sort of imagery that troubles him so deeply, I think he should get out more.

God knows what he’d make of the viral commercial billed as “THE RARE AND ELUSIVE CONDOM FAIRY.” Brought to us by “THE BEST COMPANY EVER, INC. AND LIFESTYLES SKYN CONDOMS.” It’s a tad raunchy for the first 15 seconds or so, (I can feel Mr. Cooper’s fingers twitching over his keyboard already), and then the elusive condom fairy appears. He’s elusive in the same way Mr. T was elusive in the “A Team” and is actually disturbingly reminiscent of him. Laugh your way to protection at:

Fairies are featuring large in Adland at the moment. In the excruciating media space that is Celebrity Apprentice, (are they practising to be celebrities?), Sun Products were featured in a particularly gory episode.
Teams where challenged to create a viral video for their all® small & mighty laundry product. What they created needed to be on brand, appeal to the target audience and be interesting enough to pass the viral test, (ie: be worthy of people sending it on and on to friends).

Not only did both teams fail to produce a video that the client could feasibly run, but all of the videos they made were deemed to be in poor taste, (presumably Mr. Cooper has a U.S. cousin), packed with crap jokes and terrible innuendo, like a room full of junior creatives who’ve been told to “go wild” with a brief.
Eventually “Razorfish” were asked to step in and create a solution.
The result was the ‘LFU 320’. Starring Melissa Rivers it’s a mockumentary of the Laundry Fairy’s Union 320, an off-beat collection of stain fighting fairies who aid over-stretched women everywhere. All of course meant to punt the Laundry Fairy’s weapon of choice - all® small & mighty. Fairy small. Mighty clean.™ it’s worth a look just to see some of the decidedly disgruntled fairies. See them air their dirty laundry at:

Leaping out of planes for no good reason has been a bit of a thing lately on airwaves across advertising too. The Emerald Nuts “Falling” spot is all about banishing something called the 3pm slump, some kind of sugar low that appears to be the bane of companies across America. Created by Goodby, Silverstein & Partners in San Francisco, it’s an amusing piece where the guy is so distracted by this malaise he walks out of a plane door into the sky. It’s funny. Dive in at:

One ad that’s proven very popular down the Brazen Head of late is the Johnny Walker “Crossroads” commercial. This may be because it’s about booze and therefore goes down quicker than a two finger shot with lime. It’s one of those Mr Johnson at the spiritual crossroads sort of films. Full of beautiful post-Paris Texas shots and quirky little visual asides and it sort of brings the whole “Keep walking” idea home full circle. Shot by Walter Stern of Academy and created by Pete Bradley of BBH London it’s a classic piece of well-shot, not overly scripted advertising.

Ever since the Axe campaign began it’s become a world-wide competition to make each ad progressively sexier and steamier, and it’s often been a pleasure to behold. The latest offering from agency Vegallmosponce in Buenos Aires is a slight move away from bursting blouses and hormones to erm, the world of what at first appears to be post-its.
These coloured squares of paper are all over the guys flat and car and well, everywhere really. Suddenly, a pretty, sexy, Axe girl appears attracted presumably by the deodorant rather than the smell of glued notepaper pieces. As they start to grapple the paper squares come to life and cover their unseemly behaviour in a sort of censoring manner. It’s a technique blended with an effect to very little effect indeed, chase it down at:
Time to see if Mr Smirnoff can still take effect as usual.

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