Posts Tagged ‘Lyrical’

Don’t see this every day….

January 31, 2014

The Super Bowl is one of the most anticipated events in the advertising world, and I’ll definitely be writing some thoughts on the ads post game next week.

But this ad caught my eye not only because its not the usual type of Super Bowl ad, but also because it’s not the usual issue you see advertised.

I liked the sparseness of the copy, and some of the images were very compelling. I also thought the punch line was strong, like a good punch to the gut, you’re watching and wondering where this is going, and when it gets there, I found it surprising (maybe *because* they haven’t run ads around this issue before). The ad also is very effective at humanizing a minority group that is often lost in the shuffle (at least on the East Coast, maybe less so out West or in states with large reservations).

They aren’t just Indians or Native Americans, they’re people  — fathers, sons, mothers, daughters etc, just like you and me. I like the sense of Native American pride that it evokes without resorting to the usual myth making or hyperbole. There’s just a nice lyrical nature to the ad.

I had three issues with the ad:

1. It’s too long. Maybe they felt they had to go big because its the superbowl, but the message is so simply and cleanly delivered, they could have done it much more effectively in a minute. About half way through I started to lose interest at the repetition (interesting as it was, it was becoming familiar), and I’m not sure that extra minute adds anything to the message or to the emotional punch. You get it after 30-40 seconds, don’t need it reinforced and all it does it take away from the emotion punch at the end.

2. I found some of the images not as compelling as others.

3. Not sure if this is an issue or not, but I was struck by the native accent of the narrator. I understand the reasons for using a Native American to narrate the ad, and I’m not sure using the standard narrator would have been appropriate or effective, but it was distracting for me in the sense that I was thinking about the narrator instead of the content of the message or images (maybe that also goes back to point 1, it was too long, so I was able to “see the boom in the shot” because my attention was wandering).

Still overall I thought this was a really nice spot, and I wonder if the more lyrical copy, slower pace, and overall tone of the ad will help it contrast especially with the other Super Bowl ads that often feel the need to assault your senses.

 

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Quick Review: ALZHEIMER “FORTUNATELY”

June 15, 2009

A friend sent me this ad late Friday. In between work and the weekend, I’ve been thinking about it since.  Andrew Sullivan called attention to it on the Daily Dish. He called it, “Heartbreaking. But effective.” My friend agreed.

I’ve watched the piece 5 or 6 times, trying to decide what I think about it. Here’s a quick review.

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

I think Boris would call this ad, “Lyrical.” It was produced by Saatchi & Saatchiin France, so maybe it’s that European feel.  It’s very sparse — only 12 shots total.  Next time you think you need all those shots or fancy graphics to tell a story, watch this ad.  35 seconds of images (there’s about 10 seconds for the end cards) and 12 shots.  This spot tells a story very cleanly and without any spoken words.  It clearly shows instead of telling, a cardinal rule of script writing.

It’s also well-edited; not fancy, not calling attention to itself, but there’s usually a shot that sets up the scene, then a shot that explains what we’re seeing.  Its form adds to the emotional connection.  It gives you time to take in the scenes.

Then there’s the CG (words on the screen or computer graphics) that comes up at the end.  Smart writing and nice use of the end effect to make a point; the CGs blow off like so much dust in the wind, like memory itself fading away.

Function (on a scale A-F): B

Here’s my problem with the ad — is it really effective?  The ad is heartbreaking to be sure, and emotion gets you to care.  Is that all it’s asking?  Yes, I care, now what?  Is it too sparse?  I really wrestled with this grade because I like so many of the elements that went into this ad, and the clean, not didactic message is really appealing.  At the end of the day, I don’t know, so I punted and gave it a B.

That grade would become a C if the ad was intended to drive some further action.  It would become an A if it was only intended to drive awareness.

Editor’s Note: I had some more insight on this ad walking home after posting this review.  I was listening to Robert McKee’s “Story,” which, while annoyingly pompous in tone (both on the page and in audio format),  is also considered a master class in structure and story elements.  It’s primarily for screenwriters, but also really interesting for anyone who wants to understand story structure better.  McKee was talking about different kinds of structures.  Of one, which he call Nonplot, he says, “Although nothing changes within the universe of a Nonplot, we gain a sobering insight and hopefully something changes within us.”  With that in mind, watching the spot again, it seems the very definition of Nonplot.  It’s certainly a more European aesthetic and watching this ad feels more like watching a foreign film than an American one.  Leave it to Robert McKee to explain a French Alzheimer’s ad to me.

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

Yeah, the grade should average out to a B+, but given my ambivalence on the function grade, I decided that the form should rule the day.  Do I feel dirty, promoting form over function?  A little, actually.  But while not innovative, it was exquisitely and elegantly put together.

Is it manipulative? Yes, but isn’t that what ads are? I guess you could call this spitting on the table — it’s shocking, and in some ways an easy target.  Seniors with Alzheimer’s, how could that not pull at the heartstrings.  Too easy? I don’t know.  Much like this Volkswagen ad, when shock value is used effectively, I think it’s fair game. What I don’t like is shock value for shock value’s sake.  I think this ad is thoughtful in its approach like that Volkswagen ad; it isn’t just a gimmick, but rather deliberate and focused.  So, if someone spits on the table knowing the effect it will have, deliberately calculating their spitting (just how far can I go with this metaphor?) then I think that’s different.

In any case, this ad stands as a good counterpoint to all the yelling, fast-cutting, and graphics-heavy ads that are on the air today.


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