30 October 2010

An Ode to Breathing Room

To follow The Age of Persuasion is to get an earful about the legendary Volkswagen campaign by New York's Doyle, Dane, Bernbach.  And rightly so.

Funny how illogical this classic ad is.  No one who's ever driven in virgin post-blizzard snow would swoon over the virtues of a VW Beetle in such conditions. Flying in the face of logic, this ad says simply, "don't worry."  But without explanation.  A spit in the eye of "Reason Why" advertising.

But have a look at this ad for a moment, or several moments, through a different filter.  Consider how casually it tells its story.  Over 60 seconds- something you so rarely see today.  Notice the long stretches of 'nothing'- no graphics.  No "0.9% financing!" or engineering attributes or asinine mice-type legal disclaimers. No wet-road 'beauty shots' of the car panning quickly by.

It takes its time, and the audience doesn't seem to mind a bit.  Long, silent shots fill out the story in a way no client would accept in today's over-caffeinated mediascape.

Grab a cuppa joe, and treat yourself to 60 seconds of good old-fashioned ad storytelling.

18 October 2010

Television as the "Show Me" medium

Here's a nifty spot from Thinkbox, the outfit that markets Television in the U.K.  It's a wonderful illustration of a point my pal Terry O'Reilly is fond of making- about Television's strength as a demonstration medium.

In what is literally an underdog story, our hero- Harvey- uses Television to demonstrate his many, many virtues to prospective owners at the pound.

Like so many funny broadcast ads, its rife with wonderful moments.  Seems Harvey can use the privy, cut the lawn, cook, clean and iron.  The capper: the wonderful shot of Harvey at the end of the montage: his bag all packed. 

It's true: television is a great demonstration medium. But it's not without its woes.

Television today is what Radio was in 1955.  Still big and glossy.  Still capable of outstanding content. But its days as a flagship medium are behind it. The shift of ad budgets from TV to Internet is palpable, and well-documented.

The Internet will not kill TV, any more than TV killed Radio (as many predicted it would).  Neither did Radio kill cinema.  Neither did cinema kill live theatre. Yet in each case, a king was dethroned, never again to regain supremacy.

As recently as the 90's, water cooler talk gravitated to last night's TV offerings.  Today it's as likely to be about the latest viral video.  

Look no farther than this commercial.  Hands up- who first came across this wonderful "TV" ad on TV?