Posts Tagged ‘script’

It’s good to be the king…

June 12, 2013

When you’re the king, you don’t have to worry about the competition and go negative.

When you’re the king, you can talk about experience not features.

When you’re the king, you can make ads like this one from Apple:

I find the ad a little too on the nose for me (it’s giving me  a little too much 4 instead of 2+2, especially in the open). This is one of those odd ads that’s both on-message and on-emotion, but still somehow misses the mark for me. I love that they don’t talk about features or innovations, I love that they don’t throw a bunch of numbers, I love the scene with the couple on the bridge laughing and taking a picture. A good brand is about the experience of the person using it, all those other things either add to the experience or don’t, Apple totally gets that.

So why don’t I particularly like this ad or rather, why do I think this ad isn’t working as well as the sum of its parts?

Back to my first point they’re giving us 4, when they should be giving us 2+2. as my friend said, the ad is trying a little too hard. I love the concept and feel of the ad, but I think the copy isn’t as good as they think it is. Because the copy is framing all those other elements, the ad can’t quite rise above it. I find the ad interesting, but not sure it’s good, somehow it doesn’t add up to the sum of it’s parts.

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.

Final Push Potpourri

November 1, 2010

First off, no idea that’s actually how you spelled potpourri, would not have guessed it in a million years.

A two minute closing ad from Rubio has some people thinking he’ll run for President.  I can see that from this ad, he’s good to camera, feels authentic and compelling, and the ad has an epic sweep, it’s not just about Florida, but about America, it’s not about issues, but about a philosophy.  Two minutes seems a bit indulgent, but when you’re up big in your campaign, you can take a 50,000 foot view of things.

I don’t talk about script all that often, but the strength of this ad is it’s script.  Yes, Rubio is very good, and a lesser candidate would flounder with the sweep and narrative, but this ad gives Rubio stature without making him appear overly ambitious or pompous. It has him stake a position without him being political.  It all starts on the page, and if it isn’t on the page, it won’t appear on the screen.  The more I watch this ad, the more I like it, simple and elegant, it’s form matches the function.

On the other side of the coin you have this line, “Harry Reid working for us, Sharron Angle pathological.” Can’t help but laugh even as I write it down.  This is exactly the kind of ad I really dislike (is hate too strong a word).  It’s jammed packed, the last line isn’t bad, but it’s so rushed it feels almost like a parody of a political ad.

Going back to script, do they really need the first seven seconds of this ad? Can’t they just say, a newspaper called her pathological, that she’s lying, blah, blah…. They don’t really connect running away from reporters its a macguffin that’s not particularly useful or satisfying. While I usually like using newspapers as validators, here it almost gets lost, the impact of that word “pathological” never gets to settle because the script is on to the next line.

I’m never a big fan of using your spouse or kids in an ad unless they really have something to ad.  Exhibit A is this ad from Rand Paul. Yes, he has a pretty wife, but of course she’s going to be shilling for him, she’s married to him.  I know the rationale for using her, it shows Paul in a softer light, it makes him seem human in the light of the Aqua Buddha stuff.

Still compare this ad to the Rubio ad, which one conveys a better sense of the person? Which one tells a better story, which one is more compelling both in philosophical terms and in the epic scope.  Yes, Rubio had more time to talk, but if you gave Mrs. Paul another minute and a half, don’t think it would make a huge difference as she feels contrived whether she actually is or not.

It’s drivel, it was probably drivel on the page, and it sounds like drivel on the screen.

Actors, acting & bad scripts

September 1, 2010

Is this ad an acting problem? A script problem? Or both?

I think I’ve said it here before, but if you’re going to use actors, you need a script that sounds real (in addition to actors who can act).

“Strickland must have thought we’d forget he voted for favored trade status for China…” Yeah, that’s how real people talk.

Later, “Strickland, same guy who’s Ohio state problem…”

It’s like they took a narrator’s lines and through them into the mouths of “real people.”

The problem with an ad like this one is if you don’t believe or relate to the people (the actors), then I think you’ll miss the point of the ad. I know I did, didn’t believe it for one second.

Maybe it’s me

August 23, 2010

A friend sent me this one, with the note, “Best political ad of the year…”

Watching a video like this, I got to wonder is it just me, maybe I’m lacking creativity and vision.  But I just don’t get it.

On one hand, wow, they really went for it.  You got to appreciate the fact they aren’t going with vanilla. They sure went through what seems like a lot of effort — complete with dressing their candidate up like young Terri Garr. There’s of art direction going on to parody a 35 year old movie. And, while I’ve talked about other ads/videos not trusting their concept, these guys trust theirs all the way.

The section with the violin, to quote Boris, “Guys, this is movie.” That part works, it drives home the message (though it ends with “Ahmadinejad, he’s my boyfriend,” and while that’s accurate to the parody, seems way over the top here).

Still, at the end of the day, this video feels like a mess to me.  Another film school quote, “If you notice the boom mic in the shot, then the scene isn’t working.” Well, I noticed the shoddy camera work.  The choice of “Young Frankenstein” is odd, and even odder is dressing your candidate up like a gothic heroine, but alright.  In the end, there’s 10 seconds of good material, but the rest leaves me searching for the meaning. What’s the deal with Frankenstein and Iran?  I’m not sure what the metaphor is supposed to be? What is Harman creating?

At the end of the day, this seems like an elaborate gimmick. In other words, it a concept driving message, not a message driving a concept.  It may get Mattie Fein attention, but I wonder what that attention is, will people see the production values and see her as serious?  Will the attacks stick?

I admire their gusto and style, but question their judgement.  Maybe it’s just me though.

Trusting your concept

July 16, 2010

So I never talked about the demon sheep video that made waves at the begining of the year (though if I had, I would have talked about gimmicks and the need to be authentic).  This commercial is by the mastermind of Demon Sheep, Fred Davis.  It’s an attack on Senator Patty Murray, who in 1992 ran as a mom in tennis shoes.

I showed this ad to a couple of folks, and they thought it was awesome.  Funny thing was, I thought it was less than awesome, and the why goes back to the title of this post. I think this is an awesome concept and a great attack.  It turns Murray’s image around in an interesting way.

So what’s the problem? I think the execution is less interesting and effective than the concept.

This isn’t a concept problem, but a script problem.  The script is heavy handed, it sort of takes the wind out from the visuals. I think this ad would be more effective with a short script that packed more punch.  Imagine the same visuals, you see the white sneaks, then they’re stepping on the backs of the people.  All this time there’s no voice over.  I think that’s interesting and it gets you curious.  After 10 or 15 seconds hit your talking points, “Patty Murray told us she was different, but she did X, Y, Z, tell Patty to get off our backs…”  Less details, sure, less message, maybe, more effective without a doubt.

This is a good concept, but I wish it had a good script to drive the point home, as it is, I think it misses the mark.


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