Daily Archives: August 27, 2008

Making stop sense! (two part)

Here’s another good example of an “aesthetic whole”. My old art director partner Justin Reardon is now a successful director. He created this gem for his beginning directorial reel. It was all his idea. It is insane. And brilliant. And without doubt the best ad you’ll ever see for Nutrigrain bars. Like whassup, it doesn’t ask you to please like it and to please, please laugh. It just overwhelms you. And takes you on a little trip to its own fully-realized little world. It sounded crazy when he described it to me. But he had a vision for it.

It was a sort of an accidental viral hit. Someone from geek.com stumbled upon his site and it spread from there like wildfire. If you haven’t seen this before I highly recommend that you do so now.

Stop making sense!


Scamp (the UK’s premier ad blogger) recently posted about a study by Paul Feldwick. The gist of it is that advertisers miss because they aim for the consumer’s head (the rational) instead of the heart (the emotional/the irrational)

“We know brand preferences usually aren’t rational,” he says, “and yet we still persist in trying to put rational messages into our advertising.”

And one of the campaigns he references in his analysis is our very own Budweiser Whassup! campaign.

( i have cut and selectively pasted the following from his presentation)

..And here’s a TV commercial from a different brand.



Yo. So.

No indeed, just watching the game, havin a Bud …

True, true.



Yeah what’s that?

Yo, pick up the phone.


Wazza aahhh

Yo – where’s dukie?



Hello, hello? So what’s up

Watching the game, having a Bud.

True, True.


In both these cases it’s very hard, I think it’s actually impossible to analyse exactly how and why they make their effect. That doesn’t stop us trying and people often come out with their own answers but I think really it it’s what defies analysis…

Successful and truly creative ads, I think work in quite a different way. If we pretend that advertising is predominantly digital, then we’ll feel justified in thinking of any ad as being reducible to an intellectual, verbal construct, a message or a proposition or an idea. But if we understand that the important relationship building communication is taking place through the analogue mode, then we should really change our focus away from this abstract digital idea, back to the visual, visceral power of the entire advertisement; its colour, movement, music, timing and every detail.

TV ads work I believe, through the analogue mode where emotional engagement is created through the actual sights and sounds of the commercial. And great ads, like great works of art don’t have to be very obviously original. Like great works of art, they don’t have to have much to do with a single reductionist idea. They work as aesthetic wholes.


…Which is funny because back when I came up with the idea for the Budweiser Whassup! campaign, i remember loving it for its “wrongness”. it was both completely right and completely wrong. beer ads are supposed to be big, entertaining broadly comedic gagfests. The whassup! ads were real and chilled out. And nothing important or particularly funny happened. I remember typing up the scripts for the first round of scripts and feeling a little guilty at how little actually happened in what we were going to shoot. but none of that mattered. because the rightness outweighed the wrongness. you just liked it. it overwhelmed you. it didn’t ask you to please like it. it was confident and it was different. regular beer ads start life as advertising. whassup! didn’t. it started as a labor of love by Charles Stone. so it had a different energy. an energy we harnessed and redirected.

Whassup was an “aesthetic whole” as Mr. Feldwick might say.