26 May 2010

Nike: Write the Future

Have a good look.

You won't see an ad this 'big' very often.  Because, shy of confirming extraterrestrial life, the return of Christ, or the discovery of why two socks go in the dryer but only one comes out- the FIFA World Cup is the only world event worthy of an ad of this scale.

Or vice versa.

So big is this ad, that it had 'teaser' ads made, promoting- not the World Cup- but the segment featuring Britain's Wayne Rooney.

Nike created a similar teaser spot for Portugal's Cristiano Ronaldo.

The spot is airing in 32 countries.  The director is Alejandro G. Iñarritu, known for his Hollywood titles Babel and 21 Grams.

The joy of the spot is the aggregate of countless- and lovely- 'blink-and-you-miss-them'  moments: all the babies named "Wayne," the "Ron's Samba Robics" infomercial, the club dancers paying homage to Fabio Cannavaro's bicycle kick.  To the mere mortals of advertising, these are budget-breakers.

Beyond Rooney, Cannavaro, and Ronaldo- look closely and you'll spot football greats Didier Drogba,  Franck Ribery, Andres Iniesta, Cesc Fabregas, Theo Walcott, Patrice Evra, Gerard Pique, Ronaldinho, Landon Donovan, Tim Howard and Thiago Silva.

The world's biggest sporting event meets the world's biggest sporting brand. Result: an ad that reduces Kobe Bryant, Roger Federer, and Homer Simpson to cameo appearances.

For this epic ad, Nike left everything on the field: a metaphor not lost on astute brand-watchers.

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Under 'N' for 'Nikeus Interruptus'- when the much-hyped, much-anticipated full-length spot debuted, England's ITV accidentally cut away from the ad just before the end- depriving millions of viewers in in southern England and Wales of the last few seconds.  

21 May 2010

More of the The 'Making Of' Trend: Honda Choir

A highly potent sister to Honda's "Cog" commercial (see post below)- "Choir" is another fascinating idea for a web-based spot, with a no-less compelling "making of" video:

Terry and I have spent four years preaching- and practicing- storytelling as a powerful means of drawing and engaging an audience.

That's the power of this pair of YouTube clips.  To follow the 'making of' video- if done right- the viewer becomes less of a detached critic, and more invested in the ad- and the brand.

Like 'Cog' it's fascinating in that all sounds are generated from human voices- and not studio gadgetry. 

19 May 2010

The "Making Of" Trend: Honda Cog

The storied 'Honda Cog' ad required 600 takes over four painstaking days and nights to get right.  And there is one, completely invisible edit at about the one-minute mark.

Two stories here.

The first is the amazing ad, from the London office of agency Wieden & Kennedy, which snatched every award on the planet, and moreover, enjoyed enormous viral success  Shot in France over several days, it uses only parts are taken from a real Honda Accord.  The voice at the end belongs to Prairie Home Companion's Garrison Keillor, who has voiced Honda ads for some time.

Why not Computer Generated Imagery?  Why the time, expense, and agony of enduring 600 takes to get it right?  You probably know the answer instinctively. Somehow the ad, and the brand, become more authentic by not "cheating" with the effects.  The accomplishment becomes genuinely astounding. And working feverishly to get it right becomes a metaphor for the Honda brand itself.

The second story is the 'making of' video attached.  As Terry and I describe in our book, we live in an age where people love to know what's 'behind the curtain.'  "Making of" features scratch a mighty itch among consumers to know how things work, and how they're made.  Hence the obligatory 'making of' features that come with DVD's, creating the ironic need for two camera crews on every movie shoot: one to shoot the movie, and one to shoot the shooting.

If you find your interest tweaked by the video embedded above, and the previous four paragraphs, I rest my case.

12 May 2010

The Most Interesting Ad Campaign in the World?

The actor is Jonathan Goldsmith.
The voice-over announcer is Will Lyman, best known for PBS's Frontline.
The client is Mexico's Cuauhtémoc Moctezuma Brewery.
The agency is Euro RSCG New York.
The beer, of course, is Dos Equis ("Double X").

I loved this campaign at first sight.  Its decidedly tongue-in-cheek tone. Its consistency.  Its attitude: so-funny-it's-cool.  Or vice versa.

And its litany of one-liners worthy of Stephen Wright.

Again, do you notice that the pictures and v/o are telling different stories at once?  See under 'O' for 'Old Jedi mind trick.' It's a technique that better engages the viewer.

Will this campaign burn out?  Probably. Certainly if they pound out too many spots too quickly.

For now, it's keeping a vast audience, including your humble servant, thirsty for more.

06 May 2010

"Mom! Dad! Guess what?"

SFX:                       PHONE RINGS / PICKUP
MOM:                    (answers) Hello?
DAUGHTER:          Mom!  I can't believe it!  I got a job!
MOM:                    A job?
DAUGHTER:          In a commercial!
MOM:                    What's it for?
DAUGHTER:         I didn't ask.  Wow! I can't believe those two weeks of
                             acting lessons paid off!
MOM:                   That's wonderful dear!  What's it for?
DAUGHTER:         Oh, who cares!  The point is, I'll be on TV!  And
                              everyone I've known in my life will see it!  And if
                              it's on YouTube, they'll send it to everyone they've
                              ever met!
MOM:                    But shouldn't you find out wha-
DAUGHTER:         Gotta go!  Love you!
MOM:                    Love-
SFX:                      CLICK 

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