Daily Archives: February 15, 2011


The unique thing about film is that it offers you the chance to bring life to life.

A film, like a blog post, is the energy and thinking of the creator(s) made visible.

A commercial film (AKA an ad) has an agenda. You are trying to sell someone on something. It’s not pure film.

So, you’d think that advertisers would devote all the time in their commercials to selling the product being advertised.

But they usually don’t.

Sometime in the 1980s, TV advertising decided that it was in the entertainment business.

And a formula emerged.

It went something like this: distract the audience with a shiny, entertaining bauble of “fun” and then slip a spoonful of sell in at the end when they’re not looking.

Much like feeding a baby medicine! Exactly like that actually.

There was an automatic assumption that the subject matter – the product being advertised – was boring. And the solution to this was invariably comedy. Or more usually, attempted comedy.

And it was usually backed up with some sanctimonious bullshit about having respect for the audience, who couldn’t possibly be interested in what’s being advertised.

Really? There’s a big assumption.

I never liked this approach. It’s too generic. I’m not saying I’ve never done it. I have. And it’s never that exciting. It can be funny. But that’s about it.

If I’m doing an ad for something it’s going to be hand crafted to suit that product and ONLY that product.

And it’s going to be ALL about the product being advertised. And it’s going to be done in a tone appropriate for that particular product.

If I have thirty seconds of time and energy I’m going to focus on what matters. And that is usually nothing more than the blindingly obvious smart thing to say.

This post in part was motivated by seeing this commercial film.

I don’t mean to pick on V&S or HD. But this one just got up my nose.

The proposition here is about as exciting as they come in advertising: you can now customize your very own Harley Davidson! I want an ALL CHROME one! 100% pure shiny chrome. Can I have that?

Something that’s actually exciting and interesting in and of itself.

This is not a new line of improved detergents or shampoo.

I would watch a TV show called “CUSTOM HARLEYS”, for example. It’s that good. I really want to know more.

I have watched TV shows about glue being made. And prosthetic limbs. This is Lord of The Rings by comparison!

Yet they spent all their time and energy showing people in cages. It’s an analogy folks! Harley, in case you weren’t aware, is about freedom. It’s 2011 and they’re telling me this? Oh, and you can now customize your own Harley. Bye!

Why they didn’t spend all this time and energy solely telling me about their great new idea is beyond me.

And will always be beyond me.