Here at In The Flicker, we lay our eyes on more than just movies, we love us some ads. This list comes to you from our Creative Director, Erin Galey, and Director/Producer, Corey Kupfer, and the creative storytelling that has caught their eyes. What is your favorite ad to watch?
Nike “Fate” Leave Nothing – Directed by David Fincher. Agency: W+K Portland. Cinematographer Emmanuel “Chevo” Lubezki
First of all, I grew up in Pittsburgh, so it’s hard to not love seeing my hometown’s black & gold on the big screen, especially in Troy Polamalu. He was just such a good player and all around good guy during the 12 years he played for the Steelers. I think the script of this piece really captures the essence of sport, which as an athlete myself, is something that is definitely in your heart in an inexplicable way from birth. The story has 3 acts, which is hard to do in one minute, – the setup, the anticipation/leadup to the climax, and the resolution. These two men are competitors on the field, but friends in sport – LT gives Polamalu a friendly tap on the helmet after their showdown, signifying good sportsmanship. You could not have cast 2 more perfect athletes with their own history and stories behind their careers, that most football fans will know about and love the little nod.
This piece is also really famous for its mise-en-scene, or, the design of the images. Throughout the piece, in all images of LT, he is running from left to right, and for Polamalu’s segments, he is running from right to left. Not only does this tease the inevitable impact at the end of the piece, but also cleverly harnesses the power of eye movements in the edit (see: Walter Murch) to create anticipation and engagement for the viewer. Things I also love about it: no on-screen copy until the end, no voiceover, and the use of the music of Ennio Morricone, one of the world’s most famous (and my personal favorite) cinema composers, who was recently given a Lifetime Achievement Award at the 2016 Academy Awards (long overdue and well-deserved, IMHO).
Another reason I love this piece is that it’s not dated, ie: it’s not seated in a fad or a passing popular thing – it is “sticky,” meaning, it’s a piece you want to watch over and over again, and even 8 years later (this was made in 2008), it still creates the same emotional impact for me that it did when I first saw it. This is the ad that made me want to go into advertising and made me realize that you can actually tell really powerful stories in short amounts of time.
Remember that scene in Wolf of Wall Street where Jordan (Leonardo DiCaprio), still in love with his wife and out to do good, sits down for a martini and cocaine lunch with his boss Mark Hanna (Matthew McConaughey)?
Mark Hanna: The name of the game: moving the money from the client’s pocket to your pocket.
Jordan Belfort: But if you can make your clients money at the same time it’s advantageous to everyone, correct?
Mark Hanna: No
In the world of advertising, where there is generally one bottom line, this ad makes my list for taking the stance of the yet-to-be corrupted Belfort. If you’re going to put content in front of millions, influencing them in one way or another, why not dig into your brand for something, anything that may positively influence the cultural zeitgeist; and if you can get your boxes of feminine products to fly off the shelves at Wal-Mart at the same time, it is advantageous to everyone, correct?
Beyond the integrity of the message, the clever, even genius simplicity and structure of this ad is nothing short of impressive and should have every commercial producer wishing they’d thought of it first.
KENZO – Kenzo World by Spike Jonze
While perhaps not as poignant as Always, I applaud Kenzo for the boldness in letting Spike Jonze get carried away and apply conceptualism where everyone else is practicing literalism to banal and often offensive extents.
While I don’t know the process Jonze and Kenzo underwent to land at the viral sensation of Kenzo World, I imagine it began with a sentiment something like: Kenzo is about self-expression. I see myself and the aspirations of our company in what resulted. It is the basis for In the Flicker’s process. We don’t begin by asking what has been done before, but understanding a brand’s message, filtering it through our own unique creative processes and sensibilities to an end that we believe, as artists (yes, I just used that term with regards to advertising) will strike chords with the masses.
The young woman in Kenzo World leaves what seems like a soul-crushing event speech to turn her deepest expressions inside out into a hilarious, exciting and relentlessly human expression at a level of weird we all know lives inside us.
This was a “viral sensation,” and we’ll see dozens of misguided ads trying to copy its success rather than doing the diligence we’re meant to do, to collaborate with artists and brands to create unique and meaningful content.