Posts Tagged ‘kinetic typography’

A tale of two ads

August 17, 2010

Two ads from the conservative American Crossroads:

The positive ad in Ohio is pretty good stuff. Nicely designed, I especially like the talking politician graphics they use both at the front and the end.  Not as fond of the middle section with the moving images of Portman, I much prefer the stills in the plan section, that seem to be a better fit for the overall scheme. Still, this is surprisingly good.

This ad in Colorado on the other hand…. I’ve talked before about trusting your concept.  This ad has a pretty good concept Bennet has spent X billions every day.  Whether it’s a compelling message or not, is another argument, but graphically, the idea of a calendar and $2.5 billion in spending could be really nicely pushed home.

But instead of trusting the concept they muck it up with too many CG’s, pictures of Bennet (why do we have to see the guy, you say his name 5 times, will the picture of him really drive the point home).  Then they mix the monthly calendar with the daily calendar, which is not a grave offense, but just adds to the visual clutter.

It’s ironic because in their attempt to make this ad more clear, they made it less so.

Off-Target, Style over Substance

August 2, 2010

Target has gotten themselves in the crosshairs (you like that bit of word play) by donating $150,000 to the group that sponsored this ad in favor or Republican Governor candidate Tom Emmer.  It’s a can of worms that all corporations are going to have to face as/if they enter into the political fray.

Is the ad any good? Yeah, it uses kinetic typography, which is a style I really like and I’ve talked about a lot. I also really like the silhouette effect at the end, that’s way cool. Still, I think it’s a lot of effects, but I’m not sure what the point is?  The best I can figure they’re copying the Ford ad like old Rory Reid did (which I looked at here), even the voice is similar.

Otherwise, the effects are supporting what’s happening around it, they’re flashy, but not particularly helpful. I hate it when style trumps substance and form is given the upper hand to function.

This caught my attention

July 7, 2010

Despite the slew of political ads, every week, I’m looking for something interesting and unique to write about, an ad where the blog post starts getting written inside my head.

This ad caught my attention, and I didn’t even know what I was going to say, but here goes.

First things first, I liked the when I first watched it.  I’ve talked about Kinetic Typology before, and often I think it’s not used well.  Well in this ad, I think the form and the function match up pretty well.  Though the ad is derivative of this Ford ad with Denis Leary:

I don’t see that as a negative.  It’s using the cache of that ad, it’s macho and hip and slightly irreverent, by mimicking the original (done to the attitude and sound of the voice over) this ad becomes those things as well.  It uses the typology very well, representing overcrowded class, cutting education, and cuts to teachers.  I also really like the line, “If you’re thinking, aw man, just another political ad,…” It’s surprising and grabs my attention, and it shows a certain understanding of the process (though I’m not sure if downloading Rory Reid’s plan is the solution to that thought).  While you may never consciously say, this guy gets it, I think that thought passes through the audience’s mind. It’s a nice way of connecting with them — whether it actually shows up in a poll or not, I think it makes Reid more likable.

This ad works because it’s having a conversation with the audience.  It’s a nice swipe at Sandoval because it doesn’t appear mean spirited, it’s almost playful in tone.

My biggest worry about an ad like this is does it fit Rory Reid.  While they mention the candidate, he’s not really in the ad, and I’m left wondering if he’s as hip, stylish and in your face as this ad is.

Kinetic Typography

June 9, 2009

So, my last post, I mentioned the “Girl Effect” & kinetic typography. While the technique is becoming more common, it’s still very interesting and potentially useful, though not as easy as people think.

Kinetic typography needs planning and thought; it’s hard to just leap into the ad since each sequence has movement and follows into the next.

You can get a good primer with lots of examples here, at Presentation Zen, one of my favorite design blogs.


Review: Corzine for Gov

June 9, 2009

Two new ads are up from the incumbent governor most likely to lose this fall (are there actually any others?), “Stand,” and the one I chose to review, “Congratulations.” Both ads have some interesting stylistic features; maybe I’ll review “Stand” later this week, if I get a some time.

I chose “Congratulations” because it offers a chance to talk about something I wrote about in an old failed blog — kinetic typography. What’s that? Well, here’s the best example of kinetic typography I’ve seen. Seriously, take two minutes and watch it, it’s totally worth it.

Back? Good, now take another look at this ad.

Form (on a scale A-F): B/B-

All right, let’s get down to it.  If I’m a big fan of kinetic typography, why doesn’t this spot grade out higher? Because I think it uses the kinetic type mostly as a show piece. Is the moving text really conveying any new information, or just a snazzy transition between one CG card and the next?

So sure, this is kinetic typography, but a pretty basic and pretty uninteresting example of it. Now, this type of ad is very hard to produce, every word and movement has to be planned out in advance, it’s time consuming, and it’s the type of ad that you need to give yourself a little extra time to create.  So there’s a reason to keep it simple when you’re cranking out campaign ads. But this isn’t the middle of a campaign, it’s first ad salvo; they should be able to give you more than just spinning letters.

Here, take a look at an ad we did from last year called, “Silent Bob.” (Yes, for all you Kevin Smith fans, the name was a joke that only I got.) Look, our ad is no “Girl Effect,” but the movement of the text was designed to accentuate Schaffer’s statement, make it all the more absurd, and drive the point home that’s he’s not on the side of Colorado. I point this out not to extol my work, but rather to say, you can do kinetic type on the cheap and still serve a message.

What is the text movement here doing? What is its function? I’m not sure; frankly, it feels lazy and derivative (and derivative can be good if you add you own twist).

What saves it from being a C+ form grade is the word cloud forming Christie’s image at the end; while I would quibble that the words should be easier to read (not sure if that possible), it was neat and innovative and does serve a message function. It’s not perfect, but I appreciate the effort there, and frankly, I’m going to steal it someday for an ad (unless everyone else is using it, in which case never mind).

Function (on a scale A-F): B-

It’s June, you’re an incumbent up for re-election, and you’re way down in the polls. It’s New Jersey. What do you do? Re-position your opponent, or in common parlance, go negative (the idea of negative ads is something I’ll take on another day). Opening with a negative is always a risky proposition, but less so in this case. Corzine is already unpopular, Jersey is used to slash and burn campaigns, and the only way to get his numbers up is to remind people that Corzine may be unpopular, but at least he’s on the right side of issues. Basically, he has to steal his vote from Democrats & Independents who are now siding with Christie.

Now, quick, name two things the ad mentions that Christie is against. Kinda hard, right? The point isn’t any one issue, but the idea that Christie is on the wrong side of ALL the issues, he’s not on your side.

They don’t overplay the negative with horrible music or an over-the-top voice over, which helps make the ad more believable.

The real risk now is that it’s June, will these or any Corzine attacks be as strong in October? The more you attack an opponent, the more the public starts to take everything you say with a grain of salt.

Final Grade (on a scale A-F): B-

It’s a solid ad, not too negative and fairly slick. It serves a purpose to get people to reconsider their support for Christie, hold their nose and vote for Corzine as the lesser of two evils.

The form isn’t helping it to deliver its message; it’s just slick and lazy until the end — which is interesting and effective, bordering on really good.

My main beef is that it’s mimicking a style with no understanding of what that style should be accomplishing. It’s like speaking a language without knowing the vocabulary; the words are familiar, but the meaning is gibberish.

Still, the effect doesn’t take from the message, it’s just a missed opportunity. To quote Shakespeare, it is “full of sound and fury, signifying nothing.”

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