Posts Tagged ‘suprise’

A tale of two videos.

March 8, 2011

Wow, has it really been a month since I blogged? Well that’s just too damned long.  While there has been a dearth of interesting ads and videos (by interesting I mean something that I offers the potential for enlightenment — good or bad), I miss writing.  Also if you enjoy the blog posts you ought to be following me on twitter as I do tweet several times a week with interesting ads, design and the like.

Today, if you didn’t hear, is International Women’s Day. Over on twitter I was directed to two videos which basically give a snap shot on the status of women in the world. I will state before hand, I know that the two videos are different in scope and perspective on the issue (while espousing the same basic message), and in some ways it’s like comparing apples to oranges, but I work in politics, you should never let the facts get in the way of a good argument.

Ok, off the bat, I think the first video from the Harvard Kennedy School is pretty good. It’s professional and gets a lot of information in, isn’t completely technical and boring (which is easily could have been).

The second video obviously has a huge advantage, with Daniel Craig and Judi Dench (how awesome would it be to have Judi Dench narrate a political ad), that’s an advantage, but it’s not what makes it better in my opinion.  Judi Dench and Daniel Craig — the whole James Bond thing, is really just a MacGuffin. It’s a hook to get you to watch the video, and an anchor or shorthand to explain some of what they’re discussing (like the double standard on sexual promiscuity).

I also love the simplicity of the second video, the black with the light behind.  With so much information in the narration, it helps to focus our attention on the message. In fact the information in this video really is a Macguffin as well, you aren’t meant to absorb any one fact but rather the total sum of all the facts is what matter — it’s the impression that sum makes that is the impact of the video, but if you were asked in a survey to recall them, my guess is you wouldn’t be able to, yet the video is impactful nonetheless.

The strength of the second video is that it does in 2:00 minutes or so what the Kennedy School video takes 7:00 to do (and this is just the short version). Being to the point is important. I’m interested in the message of these videos, but the Kennedy School video loses my attention right around the 2:00-3:00 minute mark, after that point, I’m frankly bored. As good as the video is, it needs to make the point and move on, making the same point again and again becomes self defeating and self indulgent. I walk away unsure how I’m supposed to feel because, well because I didn’t make it through to the end (well only because I was watching for this blog).

I think the video feels in some ways like the inverse of the Bond video — each fact is as important as the other, but at the end of the day, by losing the emotional punch and my attention, it adds up less than the sum of it’s parts.

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Sometimes the best ads

August 4, 2010

Come while you’re watching TV. The summer months are where I watch the least TV, and I realized today that I was missing seeing the ads I usually catch on prime time.  Tonight watching a re-run of one of my favorite Next Generation episodes, I caught this ad:

Maybe it’s because I’m a dad, but I loved the simplicity of this ad. I’m not sure it’ll make me buy a subaru, but I enjoyed the story telling, the way is sucks you in with the unexpected, even the punchline isn’t overdone. In fact one of the things I really appreciate about the ad is the acting is well done both by the dad and the young girl, it’s not overplayed.

It’s also the kind of ad that plays well on paper. One thing I’ve learned with concept ads is this: If it doesn’t work on paper, it won’t work on the screen.

BTW, the ad also follows Dan Heath’s three rules that I listed in this post.

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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