Posts Tagged ‘production values’

I’ll take a story with that burrito

September 16, 2013

This Chipotle video is the latest video to “go viral” — as of this writing it has over four million hits.

It’s worth watching too full of pathos and top notch storytelling (the animation is pretty clutch too, from the folks who create Morris Lessmore and his Flying Book & Numberlys). The video is three minutes long, and I’ve already watched it four or five times. Heck, the video isn’t even for the Chipotle per se, but a trailer for their new game!

I’m not going to break down all the reasons why I think this is a great video, either you get it or you don’t. But I do think there are some important lessons you can learn from this video when thinking about your videos or ads:

1. Story matters. They build a compelling story that’s not about the brand, but is precisely about what the brand stands for. A story that shows you their values.

2. Emotions matter. Related to that first lesson, this story is right on-emotion. Imagine a video that had the same message, but maybe it was a narrator with beautiful shots of fresh produce or some other genre appropriate video. It might get the message across, but would anyone watch? And more to the point would anyone remember or believe it?

3. Production Values Matter. Maybe the most important point I could make here.  We all have had clients ask us to produce a viral video, and when we ask how much they want to spend, the amount is usually less than you’d spend on an I-Pad.

Chipotle did fall into that trap. They didn’t say well, it’s only for the web, they produced a top-notch, story with top-notch production values, and I’m guessing they spent more than some people spend on their tv ads.

4. Your story matters. Chipotle is telling your their story (anti-corporate, fresh food, maybe even anti-establishment), but what they’re trying to do is resonate with your story? Are you anti-corporate, believe in fresh food, do you want to be a conformist your whole life? By reflecting your story in theirs, the create believers, they create fans. I’ll take 1 over 10 customers any day of the week.

I love seeing videos like this one. These ads and videos are why I write this blog. Chipotle could have fallen into a trap — hey, we’re just selling burritos, so let’s give ’em a video about how great our burritos are. Instead they told a compelling story that resonates and creates fans, not bad for the price of a burrito.

 

 

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A Bridge too far….

August 21, 2012

Wow that’s a lot of production values for a political ad.  I love the pledge zombies concept, too bad the creators of the ad seem to not know what to do with it. There’s this big build up, then you have what’s a pretty standard political ad. Seems like there are two ads in here, a concept spot about “Pledge Zombies” and a standard to camera ad about the Pledge and why it’s bad for business.

The concept ad could be hilarious, imagine a standard political ad with the pledge zombie, meeting voters, working at their desk, with their family.  (I can see it in my head, it’s pretty funny there at least.) In this ad, it feels like it’s wasted, there’s no payoff to the concept, so why go through all that work?

The failure of this ad isn’t from a lack of creativity or execution, both are very good, but a lack of courage on the part of the consultants (or the candidate) to follow through with a brilliant concept. They came up with something interesting, and instead of playing it, trusting the concept to deliver the message, they go half way, so the ad is neither a good concept ad or a good political ad. (Ok, it’s actually a pretty good political ad, that was a little harsh, it’s just aspires to be something more, and it fails in that aspect.)

I remember reading a book when I was younger, “A Bridge too Far,” by Cornelius Ryan. It a historical account of the the audacious allied plan to end the war, by capturing a series of five bridges behind enemy lines and  opening up a northern route into Germany.  Despite all sorts of problems, the Allies captured four of the five bridges, prompting General Montgomery to proclaim it a success, and others to say, they went “a bridge too far.”

This ad is like Operation Market Garden (the name of the plan in the book), four of five bridges isn’t actually a success, judged by the standards it has set up, it’s a failure, which is too bad because it’s so close to being awesome.

Do Production values matter?

April 27, 2012

Interesting ad from John Tester. It’s a total gimmick ad, but I like the concept. I think the gimmick works here because it’s on message and on emotion, the key elements for any ad, but specifically an ad that revolves around a gimmick. Tester has never seemed Washington, so telling people he packs his Montana steaks, the nice touch with the boots (and the shot of the TSA agent looking at the x-ray of the steaks) works here because it matches what we think of him already.

What I don’t like about this ad is the execution. The shots are a little sloppy, the lighting is really flat (especially at the end of the ad), even the audio sounds a little crunchy. Frankly the ad feels cheap, more like a low budget commercial, then a commercial for a US Senator. Maybe that’s a stylistic choice, but I think you can be homey without looking cheap.

A good story with poor production values still works, and I think this ad mostly works. The sloppy and cheap execution do hold it back though, it feels less real, more staged, less believable somehow. Compare this ad with the gimmick ads from Hickenlooper, those were highly produced and yet still felt intimate and personal.

So a good concept taken down by poor execution. At least they’re trying to be different.


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