Posts Tagged ‘2+2’

Always leave room for milk… and the Audience

August 6, 2013

There’s something quirky about this spot that I like. I really like the line “Corey may be the frontrunner in this race, but he’s no progressive.” There’s an honesty to it that I think voters will appreciate.

Still I just can’t bring myself to love this spot. It’s one of those that ads that I’m ambivalent about — those are my favorite to write about. I write abou them because when I’m ambivalent, I usually can’t put my finger on what’s bothering me. Thats the case here.

Could it be the spot is a little too on the nose? Could it be the opening which is distinct (the scientist from Jeopary) but somehow akward (too self promoting maybe)? I don’t mind the middle issue section because those are a MacGuffin, a way for Holt to signal his values without saying he’s a progressive. But then they go ahead and say Booker’s not progressive and use progressive in the tag.

I guess I can see the potential of this spot (I’m a scientist, Booker’s the front runner but his story doesn’t match his values — do they match yours), but it doesn’t really reach it, and leave no room for the audience to put themselves in the spot, instead telling us what to think.

At least he’s trying. Spitzer’s second ad.

July 26, 2013

Gosh I wish Elliot Spitzer could run ads from now till 2014.

I’m not sure this is a great ad, not even sure I like it, but at least the guy (well probably Jimmy Siegel) is trying.

What I like about this ad is it doesn’t hit you over the head with it’s message, doesn’t feel the need to fill the quiet space nor pump you full of talking points. It keeps you waiting, and doesn’t reveal itself till the end and even then, it doesn it with a crinkled newspaper headline. I really appreciate that they trusted their concept.

I’m not sure the music is right, but again, think of how this ad vould have gone: Elliot Spizer has spend a career going after Wall Street… Blah… blah.. blah… Instead of the usual talking points, they engage you with a reveal, and let your imagination fill in the rest (gosh, he has been a thorn in Wall Street’s side) to my mind that’s worth a 1000 talking points.

 

Being for the middle class doesn’t mean you have to be so mediocre

July 19, 2013

http://m.youtube.com/watch?v=MbYXOyIwaB4

Christine Quinn is the first candidate up in the NYC Mayor’s race. I only have two short comments to make about this relatively generic ad:

1. Even though she appears in every scene in the ad, I never get a sense of who she is, what kind of person, do I like her or not? As I said above, it’s all rather generic.

2. The final line: “While others talk about fighting for the middle class, I’ve been doing it…” Seems slightly ironic because we’ve just spent :30 seconds with you talking about fighting for the middle class. Yes, I understand she was “talking” about her accomplishments, but still I found it… odd. Maybe it’s because the ad is so generic, and I wasn’t emotionally invested so I’m nit-picking or maybe it’s they’re trying to hard to make their point, the ad yells “4” when it should be whispering “2+2.”

3. (Ok, I know I said two short comments, so you don’t have to read this one if you don’t want.) There’s just so many issues in the ad, I get it, you’re trying to create a sense of what’s she’s done, the breadth of her accomplishments, but it feels like they’re trying to say everything and instead they end up saying nothing.

It seems the middle class is the big issue of the NYC Mayor’s race given this ad and the previous Weiner video I reviewed. Frankly I think Weiner video did a better job of being on-emotion, and showing true empathy. This ad is a list of issues, but ends up less than the sum of it’s parts.

It’s good to be the king…

June 12, 2013

When you’re the king, you don’t have to worry about the competition and go negative.

When you’re the king, you can talk about experience not features.

When you’re the king, you can make ads like this one from Apple:

I find the ad a little too on the nose for me (it’s giving me  a little too much 4 instead of 2+2, especially in the open). This is one of those odd ads that’s both on-message and on-emotion, but still somehow misses the mark for me. I love that they don’t talk about features or innovations, I love that they don’t throw a bunch of numbers, I love the scene with the couple on the bridge laughing and taking a picture. A good brand is about the experience of the person using it, all those other things either add to the experience or don’t, Apple totally gets that.

So why don’t I particularly like this ad or rather, why do I think this ad isn’t working as well as the sum of its parts?

Back to my first point they’re giving us 4, when they should be giving us 2+2. as my friend said, the ad is trying a little too hard. I love the concept and feel of the ad, but I think the copy isn’t as good as they think it is. Because the copy is framing all those other elements, the ad can’t quite rise above it. I find the ad interesting, but not sure it’s good, somehow it doesn’t add up to the sum of it’s parts.

Four for Friday: The Subtle and the petty

March 30, 2012

Been traveling this week for work, so it’s been tough to post. Today is a hodgepodge of ads, I came across this week.

First up Chrysler’s followup to “Halftime in America”:

I thought the ad did a great job of re-framing the halftime in America message that started with Clint Eastwood at the Super Bowl. If that ad was a 50,000 ft view, this one is closer to ground level. It tells the story, without telling the story, if you know what I mean. I just read this list of writing tips from the great screenwriter Billy Wilder. The two rules that seem to apply here are:

5. The more subtle and elegant you are in hiding your plot points, the better you are as a writer.

And,

7. A tip from Lubitsch: Let the audience add up two plus two. They’ll love you forever.

This ad is very subtle, it never reveals the subtext, and I think it’s better for it.

The next ad up was sent to me by a friend:

I like the tone of the ad, and I think it does a nifty job of making it’s political points without sounding (or looking) too political. The ad is well shot too, with lots of pretty pictures. It makes something that could have been dry interesting, so it scores points there too.

My only objection to the ad, is the whole “Your friend Ben” theme.  Maybe it’s how folks already see Cardin, but it feels a little forced. I guess it’s better than a more traditional, “that’s because Ben Cardin cares…” or “Ben Cardin is on our side…” line, but not sure I buy it, in an ad that I generally buy.

Alright, ad number three comes from the Republicans:

Don’t love this ad/video for a number of reasons:

1. Not sure how folks will feel about using audio from the Supreme Court. Usually the Supreme court is above politics, pulling in Lawyer’s arguments seems debasing somehow, but maybe that’s just me.

2. The quote feels lacking context. So, the lawyer had a brain fart, but does that make healthcare a tough sell? Not sure I get the connection? Maybe if we heard a question asking him to describe what the health care law does or some other reference, but right now it just seems like a guy who lost his train of thought.

3. Who cares? I mean, yes we ought to care about health care, but what I mean is, hitting Obama for health care now seems like hitting Clinton for having affairs, haven’t we played this out already?

Maybe as an ad that gets the base angry this works.  The fact that it only had 400 hits on youtube (and I’ve watched it twice), makes me think it’s pretty ineffective.

Finally, an ad that’s about as simple a repines as they come. In one of those petty (and dumb) political moves, opponents of Jose Hernandez are asking a judge to stop him from describing himself as an Astronaut. 

Hernandez answers quite eloquently in this one minute long video:

Is there a more clear example of show don’t tell? This response is a also a great example of political aikido. Whatever a judge decides, the fact that opponents are arguing he’s not an astronaut, this video response will cement the fact that he did indeed fly in space. At once a response like this makes the opponents seem small minded and Jose Hernandez never has to break message to do it, that sounds like a win in my book.

Real Magic

March 12, 2012

When I was in college, I quickly realized something about the class I took.  My best classes, the ones I was most interested in, the ones that I worked the hardest in, the ones, I remember today, weren’t always the most interesting topics. Sure some of them were right in my interest wheel house, but many of them were subjects I never really cared much about then or since.  Conversely, the worst classes were often in topics I was sure I’d love.  What separated the bad from the good, the boring from the interesting was the quality of the teacher.

The best teachers made subjects (like English History 1600-1658) fascinating and relevant.

I bring that up in the context of this new ad from Jessie Jackson Jr.

On the face of it, it should be compelling, it should be heartbreaking, it should move me to outrage…, but it doesn’t. The spot is flat emotionally. Now, I know a mom telling the story of her son gunned down on the way to choir practice is inherently powerful, but it’s not. That first line “I’m Pam Bosley, my son is dead…” should grab you and make you sick, but it doesn’t.

I’m not blaming the mom, who has obviously gone through a tragedy no parent should ever have to face.  It takes courage to get on camera and speak about it.  I blame the consultant.  It appears that she’s reading a teleprompter, repeating words from rote rather than telling her own tragic tale.  Then to make matters worse, they have her spouting political blah, blah, blah about there opponent (the highlight of the ad is actually the phone of Debbie Haverston behind Jesse Jackson with that awful expression on her face).

I saw a quote from a screenwriter that said if the answer is 4, write 2+2.  Unfortunately the script here gives us 4.  There’s no room for the audience in this ad either emotionally or intellectually. Instead of bringing us into the story they hold us at arm’s length.

“A million deaths is a statistic. One death is a tragedy.”

By the time she says, don’t let my son die in vain, we should be heartbroken…. I read a great line about Jeremy Lin, the Knicks point guard, who came from no where to dazzle the NBA — a reporter said the true story of Jeremy Lin was “about how in a society full of nonsense and noise, of fizz and vapour, of pretty colours and manufactured products, we ache for real magic.”

This ad has the potential for real magic but instead they gave us more nonsense and noise.

 

 


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