Posts Tagged ‘music’

Storytelling is a two way street

November 13, 2013

A quick thought about storytelling…

Thought this ad was a nice example of storytelling and nifty animation to boot.

Here’s a pretty cool look at how they made the ad:

Along these lines, I saw this interesting article in the Wall Street Journal  about how “Carrying a bottle of Vegetable Juice Has Become a Status Symbol.” The point the article makes which I hope circles back to this advert (see how I used the British term for a British ad) is that people buy things it sends a signal to the world about who they are, what they believe, what their values are. A $10 bottle of juice is crazy unless it “…convey[s] the impression of superior health and discipline.”

See storytelling works both ways. A product a candidate has to tell a story to get folks to pay attention, but where things get interesting is when the audience adopts the brand because it tells their story too.

Beware your friends

April 9, 2013

If you longed for the good old day of negative advertising.

If you’ve said gosh they don’t make ’em like they used to….

Then this negative ad attacking Christine Quinn in the New York Mayor’s race is for you.

Gosh, from the music the effects to the overbearing narrator, this ad felt like it should be running in the 90’s. Negative ads have come a long since then, using more pointed attacks, humor, and just generally not being so overwrought with the negativity. Does the ad have some good points to make, it sure seemed like it. The quotes were all good and tough, but instead of letting the evidence speak for itself, the creators of this ad tried really hard to let you know, these were bad things (as if we couldn’t tell for ourselves).

The problem is that there’s no room for the viewer in an ad like this. They’re telling instead of showing, they’re making statements instead of asking the question. It’s a classic blunder, the first of which is never get in a land war in SE Asia, and the second is never go up against a Scillian with death on the line.

The ultimate question then is this: Does this ad help or hurt? How could it hurt? As an outside group, coming in attacking the only woman in the race, does it seem too mean spirited? Are they injecting important information into the race or are they beating up on Quinn? Again, I don’t question the validaty of their attack, just the tone. The ad is tone deaf. Better to give the quotes straight then ask the question. (Shaking my head).It’s clear the people making it hated Quinn, but it’s too clear, it seems personal, like they want New Yorkers to hate Quinn as much as they do.

To the extent that this ad sticks and the information gets through it’ll be effective. To the extend that it is seen as too negative or just plain mean spirited, it’ll backfire.

 

And now a word from our sponsor…

August 1, 2012

Taking a quick break from politics (because there are three or four ads I’d like to write about), I thought in the spirit of the day, I’d write about my favorite Olympic ads.  Fast Company posted this list here.

It’s an interesting list. Here’s their top choice:

Funny, this ad didn’t do much for me. I mean it was alright, but I don’t even think it was the best shoe ad on the list.

I thought the Nike ad “Find your Greatness” was much more inspiring and also much more on brand message:

My two favorite ads on the list are #2 and #3:

Both ads are well shot, but what really sets them apart is the emotional appeal.  How you can you not get a little teary at the end of the Mom’s ad?  And the meet the superhumans is so kick ass and proud, that it would be an insult to call it merely inspirational.

Another element that sets these two ads apart is the outstanding music.  Which both sets and frames a mood, but also drives the spots. Another element that both spots share is reflecting small familiar moments that the viewer can relate to.

The spots just suck you in from the beginning — they open with a quiet stillness that is both intriguing and engaging.

In the Olympic spirt both spots deserve a gold medal.

Throwback…

July 19, 2012

A quick post:

Don’t see too many jingles now a days.

This one is actually pretty catchy which is good, because Nancy is actually a write in candidate, so remembering her name is doubly important (of course, I can’t remember her last name now… maybe not as effective as they’d like).

I like the ad because the jingle actually serves a message purpose, that’s form and function, and that’s the way it ought to be.

Beware the dark side

February 15, 2012

Taking a break from political ads, to look at the controversy around the Westminster Dog show‘s decision to pull the sad pedigree dog ads it had been running. From the Article, the spokesperson (wouldn’t it be cool if they had a spokesdog) said, “The feedback we got from our primary audience was that they were seeing commercials that made them want to turn the channel.”

Here’s the commercial in question:

I thought it was a pretty good commercial, I really liked the copy, which I thought was well written if a bit much.

Here’s the ad that replaced it by Purina:

Have to say I liked this ad better. The music and inspiring images, made me smile. I could connect to the home images of the dogs and be inspired by the working dogs (like the dog jumping out of a helicopter, maybe he or she could be a spokesdog someday).  I thought the message was clever, make a good dog great.

My wife works in international development, and she saw some polling data some years back that people didn’t like to see sad images of kids in Africa in the advertising.  It depressed them, made the problem seem insurmountable, and left them feeling powerless and less likely to respond or act. Now we can argue how sad the Pedigree ad really was, but I wonder if the Westminster Dog show didn’t have a point?

Look the Purina ad has nothing to do with pet adoption, but honestly, if you slapped a “Adopt a dog” message at the end of that spot, I’m pretty sure it would work just as well. Like I said, it left me with a warm feeling. The Pedigree ad reminded me of a problem I know existed, but I’m not sure if left me ready to go out and act (not that we’re getting a dog, despite my two son’s great desire for one). Showing the ads to my my eight year old said the sad ad makes him want a dog more because it makes him worry about them, but I think the feeling the Purina ad invokes — companionship, the cuteness and love, the sense of play and connection with a pet, are equally powerful motivators (my eight year old says he liked this ad better) and their positive motivators carrying none of the guilt or avoidance of the Pedigree emotions.

Who knows why Westminster did what it, the decision has come under scrutiny, but reading the article Pedigree has found a way to spin the loss into a PR gain. The fight reminds me of something from Star Wars (doesn’t take much to go there).  Luke asks Yoda if the dark side of the force (anger, fear, aggression)is stronger? Yoda replies, “No, quicker, easier, more seductive.”

I would say the same is true about ads: The way our brains are designed it’s easier to appeal to those “darker” emotions of anger or fear. The Pedigree ad isn’t quite going there, but I think the point is the same. It goes for the low hanging fruit, guilt, sadness, hoping to inspire action, but the Purina ad reaches higher, it’s aspirational, showing the viewer the way things could be and touching on what really inspires us — that’s real strength.

Stuffed full

February 15, 2012

Rick Santorum is surging in the polls, and sure has a lot to say in his newest ad:

When I saw this ad, I wanted to comment about it, but can’t remember what I wanted to say. So je may have more to say in the ad than I have to say commenting about the ad, but here goes.

Let see he says:

First, he opens with a rhetorical question, who has the best chance to beat Obama… alright, I guess he’s setting us up for the big reveal… it’s him!

Next he declares himself a full spectrum conservative. I love when consultants make up phrases to cover some concept they need to explain quickly.  Of course, I’m not sure what full spectrum conservative means, but maybe all those half and quarter spectrum conservatives get it.

Third idea in the spot: A favorite of the tea party…. So this goes along with conservative full or half spectrum. But is the tea party really known for their strong stand on fighting corruption?

Forth, a jobs plan (cause you know, people care about jobs) that’ll make America an economic super power again. (How’s that? Well, he said it so it must be true.)

Fifth a summary of what they’ve said though now he’s a “trusted” conservative who can beat Obama.

That’s a lot of ideas to get across all at once, it feels like he’s trying to make up for lost time, and get in all his good arguments all at once. It’s a lot to take in, and even harder given the odd choice of music that sounds like it was stolen from an 80’s news open (wish I could find the scene from “Broadcast News” where the composer introduces his new opening music, and big finish).

Visually the ad is the typical with a lot of pretty shots of Santorum with his family (because you know he has values and he’s a full spectrum conservative) — not really interesting.

You never know the decision behind running an ad, all you can do it speculate, but it sure feels like the Santorum folks feel like they’re only getting one shot at this apple, so they better throw everything and the kitchen sink into one ad.  I can understand that desire, but I believe they would have been better off, slowing it down, and focusing on one or two things — like the conservative to beat obama theme, maybe letting the CG do some of the policy work (CG: “A jobs plan… Restore America to an Economic super power”).  Sometimes when you try to say it all, you say nothing. Not sure this ad fails that badly, but it kinda just gets lost in itself.

 

 

And the Nominee is…

December 5, 2011

I was planning to just look at Rick Perry’s new ad today, but then Newt went ahead and released his first spot of the primary season, so it’s a twofer Monday here at Ad Nauseum.

I really liked this ad from Perry which basically takes ownership of his much discussed brain fart. It felt pretty authentic, and I think Perry does a good job delivering the lines. There’s not much else to the ad, the issue and positioning stuff is really just filler. I frankly can’t remember any of it —  I’ll always remember this as Perry’s apology ad, even though that’s only about half the ad. There’s a point to be made here: That you can’t cram too much into an ad, basically in :30 people will remember one or two elements. If you want them to remember more, then you can have one overarching theme, and the other elements need to connect to them, but even then, it’s the overarching theme that resonates with an audience.

The delivery is smooth, and not too forced, though I wouldn’t go so far to say natural. Still, I think Perry comes off as likable, and this ad could only help remind folks why they were so excited about Perry to begin with. My biggest question about the ad is the timing. I think this ad comes too late to really stem the damage from the debate. An ad like this a couple days after the debate mistake or possibly a week afterwards might have muted the criticism, and showed Perry as a likable guy who could good naturally admit mistakes.  Coming almost three weeks after the gaffe, I really wonder if audiences have moved on.

In the first 10-15 seconds of Newt’s first ad, I thought I was really going to like it. It’s exactly the kind of message I think a Republican should be using (talking about American exceptionalism in nostalgic and reverential tones). But after those first 15 seconds, the spot doesn’t really go anywhere except to Newt.

I can’t quite put my finger on why it’s so flat. I really like the images (the Marines marching, the hand on the amber waves of grain, the flags), so I don’t think it’s the visuals (except the weird cross fade from the Statue of Liberty).  I wonder if it’s the music which starts as emotional, but never builds or goes anywhere. Much like the spot, the music seems to meander, once it’s made it’s central point. The spot seems almost tamped down. I wonder if that was a deliberate choice?

Maybe they’re trying to play Newt against type, he’s known as being fiery, so we’ll play him calm and mellow. I’m not sure that really works here, even though I think the message is appealing to voters.

At the end of the day, I think voters will respond to this ad, it’s compelling enough, but just so.

 

What’s wrong with this spot?

July 20, 2011

Dick Lugar is up with his new ad, trying to reach out to a party base that may have passed him by.

If they had come to me first and asked me what I thought, here’s how the conversation might have played out:

Me: “I like the last line, ‘a veteran fighting along side our new recruits, will help them….’ Do we need the ‘I’ll hope you agree before it?”

Them: “Well, [insert person’s name here, senator, staff, pollster, wife, donor] insisted that it be in there, makes him seem like a regular guy, you know?:

Me: “Ok, well it sounds kinda weak, when we want him to sound strong. Isn’t that the point of the spot? That’s he’s taken on this problems before, that’s he been toughened by age and experience? Now, why no music? It’s an interesting choice.”

Them: “Yeah, well we didn’t want to make it seem like a political commercial.”

Me: “Oh, you have a senator speaking directly to camera, but you didn’t want it to feel like a political commercial? Right now it feels really flat, music could help give an emotional frame to the spot.”

Them: “We didn’t want to seem like were trying too hard or being manipulative?”

Me: “Ok, well, to be honest the spot feels a little desperate right now, like Lugar is begging for support, it feels a little pandery [is that a word, pandering?]. And, well, what the word, the Senator, well, he comes off as kinda old looking. That’s what struck me the first time he’s on screen.”

Them: “Really? We had a special make-up artist who works with aging rock stars.” [That’s a true story, I used a make-up woman who’s specialty was aging rock stars, she used a spray gun to paint on the make up of an aging man running for office.]

Me: “Well he looks and sounds old, and he’s a little weirdly happy, when he should be more intense or something, again music would help….”

Them (looking increasingly like they want to leave): “Yeah. What else?”

Me: “What’s up with the Reagan shots.”

Them: “Conservatives love Reagan, Lugar worked with Reagan, therefore conservatives love Lugar. Get it?”

Me: “Yeah, well, the shots look dated, and make you realize that Lugar has been in office a long time. Who told him to smile the whole time? <Sigh>”

Them: “So basically, you think it’s emotionally flat, he smiles too much, looks old, and seems like he’s pandering?”

Me: “Exactly, and I just don’t buy it, feels like he’s trying to be something he’s not comfortable with.”

Them: “And that…”

Me: “Is that new, did I not say that before?”

Them: “No…”

Me: “Oh, ok, yeah it feels inauthentic too. Alright well, good first cut, let’s get back into the edit room and fix it.”

Well, it would have went something like that.

Get what you pay for

July 28, 2010

Bear with me, this is my first post on my iPad, and I can’t figure out how to paste the video into the post other than this:

[Editor’s note: What do you know it worked. Go iPad.]

DCCC announced it’s target states and this :30 ditty. I like the idea of the contract on America, and they deliver an incredible amount of information in thirty seconds. But I find the execution incredibly pedestriation and overdone. [Editor’s note 2: The site that pointed me to said said it was a thirty when in fact it is :50, still a lot of information, but not nearly as impressive as I thought.]

The music is way over the top, and for a spot without VoiceOver, music is especially important.

The spot was obviously done on the cheap no v/o, simple pictures and graphics, probably cost no more than $3-$4K.

Sometimes you get what you pay for I guess.

Sometimes it’s not black or white

April 9, 2010

I was trying to find something to write about this week, there are ads out there now, but for the most part, I was looking for something interesting to say or at least something interesting to show.  I was going to write about Ned Lamont’s new ad, but now I can save that till next week.

My friend Emily sent me this ad, and asked me what I thought.  She said “Would love to know what you think. I don’t really know how I feel about it…”

After watching the ad (well, actually it’s a web video since it’s almost a minute and a half long), I can understand what she means.  On one hand I think it’s a pretty good negative attack on Specter in a Democratic primary.  The people are believable, the music is great, the shooting style is simple but effective. I like the B&W effect, it’s interesting.  I also appreciate their restraint in the use of CG, which can be so overused (it can be like a bad powerpoint presentation, where the speaker is constantly reading from the slide, that you’re reading as well).  It’s paced really well (which you can do a little easier when you’re not locked into :30 or :60 increments), and I especially like the silent opening just being introduced to the people without any signal of what it is about.  It gets me curious about what’s to come, it engages my attention.

So it’s an honest effective swipe at Specter, that goes after the Democratic base.  It doesn’t feel mean spirited at all, which is in part what makes it so effective.

I think the part that is confusing, and maybe what my friend is reacting to, is the “Dear President Obama….”  It feels like a Red Herring.  It feels to me, in part, that the President Obama stuff is more a MacGuffin than an actual appeal. It gets you some good earned media (Sestak appeals to Obama, “We want Change” kind of headline), it offers a nice frame to the video, and gives some signal to the kind of folks Sestak is trying to appeal to.

Still the “Dear Mr President” frame also feels out of place, it just doesn’t quite work on that front, and I think that’s the confusing part.  It seems like an unnecessary attack on the President, while trying to embrace what he stands (stood?) for.

I could have titled this post “It’s such a fine line between stupid and clever #4 or 5, or whatever number we’re at for the title.  This spot has so many things I like about it, but I can see how you can be on the fence about it because it is confusing or disorienting in a way.

To answer my friend’s question, I really like this video.  Despite the odd frame, I think it works, it’s very understated, but makes it’s point in an authentic way.


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