Posts Tagged ‘cinematography’

Never let ’em off the hook

April 30, 2013

Not sure why I wanted to show it, but my sone just did a report for school on change agents, and he got Jackie Robinson.

You know I wanted to like this ad a lot more than I did. I love the opening line, “Here’s to first…,” and I also love the New Era (they sell hats you know) tag, “Fly your own flag.”

I wanted to like this ad, in many ways it reminded of this Apple ad:

But where the Apple ad moved and inspired me, the New Era ad despite being well shot left me flat. Maybe it’s because it’s seems to be trying too hard, it had me on the hook at the beginning but then it loses. Somehow it feels like New Era doesn’t really have a point to make, the ad’s not really about being first nor about Flying your own flag. Where the Apple ad is dedicated to the “Think Different” proposition. What’s my walk away from the New Era ad? What am I supposed to feel? The ad doesn’t sufficiently guide me there and seeing the sign of Jackie Robinson park at the end feels less like a payoff and more like a cheat.

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A contrast in styles

September 26, 2012

A couple more quick reviews today. A friend passed this West Wing reunion along:

It’s pretty clever, and actually does a good job of conveying some important information without sounding too political. Some of that is the format, a lot of that is good acting. It’s really amazing what good actors can do, the “bio” section of the video is really well done without too much fanfare.  It’s logs in at a little over four minutes, but doesn’t feel overly long. Makes me miss the West Wing too.

Next up another appearance for Elizabeth Warren. I think the script is pretty good hear, it’s conversational and common sense. It’s the kind of explanation you don’t hear a lot of in politics, straight forward, no spin, and it makes sense. My real problem with this ad is how stark it looks. It looks like a response ad from the 90’s shot on piss poor betacam. It’s flat and ugly. I understand that it might have been thrown together quickly, but surprised at how bad it looks given the ubiquitousness of quality cameras — especially in the Boston area.

I keep thinking the starkness was a deliberate choice, especially given the fact that there’s no music, but whether is a choice or not (Boris would say, “Your work is on the screen”) it’s unfortunate. Does it matter, maybe maybe not, but I think if the ad looked a little bit better it would be a home run, even looking pretty flat and dark, it’s a good spot because the message is right on.

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.

Sometimes it’s the simple things.

April 13, 2010

Really nice opening ad from Cal Cunningham.  I think the open is stronger than the end, with the bleached out shots of the flag and out the bus window, it’s more evocative and emotionally powerful.

The line “Now I want to fight a different kind of war…” feels like an awkward transition to  the issues section of the spot, which I’m not sure they really needed.  They could referenced service again, and kept it more general, like “Now I’m running for the US Senate, to service again by breaking through the partisanship in Washington, and help the people of North Carolina…”  This middle section is the weakest part of the ad.

The ad comes back strong with it’s disclaimer, “I approve this message, for them.” It’s unusual and somewhat mysterious so it gets my attention on a part of the spot that’s usually a throw away.

Like I said, overall this is a strong opening spot.  While I don’t feel all warm and fuzzy for Cal Cunningham, I like him and what to know more about it.  Like a look bio movie, the ad doesn’t try to tell you everything about Cal Cunningham’s life, but it takes some episode that says something larger about the person.

I’ll be looking out for the follow up to this ad to see what they have in store next.

More dueling ads in Arkansas

March 24, 2010

Long delay from blogging, sorry and thanks for sticking around.  Travel and real work keeping me from writing, but it’s time to focus now.  Bunch of health care ads coming up trying to frame the post debate debate.  I’ll try to look at those tomorrow.  In the meantime, back to Arkansas:

This is a beautiful ad.  I love the shots from the house to the silhouettes, to the details, to the shots of Lincoln in the committee room, really tight work.  The shots are so evocative, but I find them fighting with the script. The script is really a meat and potatoes script about being a committee chairperson and the power that brings to Arkansas.  I’ve never been sure if that line of reasoning (your incumbent has a lot of power) works.  It probably polls well, but I wonder if it’s too rational an argument to make. It almost feels like a bribe to me.  

In any case, while I’m not sure the imagery works with the transactional message, it’s a whole lot better than this Harry Reid ad which makes a similar argument to Nevada voters:

Compared to this Reid ad, the Lincoln ad feels like a ball of emotion.  The Reid ad is your standard political “good enough” ad, but it does nothing to connect.  Lincoln at least tries to connect by using the surrogate of the farmer to talk about her power, she tried to make it personal.  If you’re going to make an ad along the lines of the powerful incumbent, the Lincoln ad is about as good as you can get.

Two ads from primary challenger Bill Halter:

I just don’t get the coach ad.  It feels hokey and not serious enough to make Halter serious, but not really funny enough to be amusing.  


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