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#1 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 12:52 PM

So, in your opinion, what makes a great commercial? 

 

I have seen some very good commercials. To me though, most of them are repetitive noise, with very little thought behind them but to be so massively quantified into your subconconcious. For me, as a filmmaker, I am always looking to create something that people connect to on an emotional level. Even if they just watched it for 40 seconds.

 

Now, we connect to characters that we can relate to. An emotion in their expression. Their eyes. Body language. Can we effectively capture this in under a minute? I think we can, but we have to be able to take a chance that people will watch the picture even though it is repetitive for 15 seconds. Which might be a stretch, since people have the attention span of a gold fish in todays society. We are attacked with ads everywhere.

 

Another approach could be to create something so beautiful, the viewer is caught by that. I do believe it is hard to keep attention with cinematography alone though, except for those especially interested in such. 

 

What are your thoughts, and what is your favourite commercial? I think this could be an interesting discussion.


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#2 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 01:25 PM

So, in your opinion, what makes a great commercial? 

 

Yes, please let me know, I have four more coming up in August.

 

R,


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#3 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 01:46 PM

You certainly can. 30 seconds is tight, but you can get lots of emotion into that space, but normally the 45s and 60s ads reach further. When commercials work, they work beautifully. I have too many to list, some are just gorgeous or visceral experiences, some are funny and some are profoundly human.

 

Here are just a few of the more human or emotional ones that I can dig up now:

 

This super bowl ad from a few years back had a profound effect on the buyers and sparked the whole Imported From Detroit campaign. Everyone loves an underdog or comeback story and there is none better than Detroit rising from the ashes. First time I saw it i have to admit I got emotional. It's brilliant copywriting, making Americans proud of their car building history, something they hadn't been in a long time.

 

 

 

 

Here's one of my favorites directed by Seb Edwards for Hovis bread. A farmers lad begs to come along and help his farmer dad, who's a tough hard working guy. He runs the lad into the ground, but it has a very emotional ending. Excellent, yet simple filmmaking. Great casting.

 

 

 

 

Or this xmas classic from dir Dougal Wilson for John Lewis. A boy that can't wait for christmas..

 

 

 

 

This Apple classic has perhaps the best copywriting ever.

 

 

 

 

Here's a recent ad for swimmer Michael Phelps, directed by Martin De Turah that's pretty powerful.


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#4 Freya Black

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 01:53 PM

Isn't it interesting how Hovis, a brand of bread, always seems to strive to produce high quality adverts.

Some brands seem to really push for something special and others just seem to throw together 30 secs of tat.

I've never understood why it so wildly divergent.


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#5 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 02:02 PM

Because unfortunately, brand ads don't have the same measurable impact. They require a more long term approach to marketing. What I mean with brand ads is where there's an overarching theme or concept or association they want to do, often long term, to build the brand. Most ads are product ads there to tell you the price, that they're on sale or how they clean better than brand X etc. Unfortunately that works. It's much easier to come up with those and not have to spend money on expensive creatives and ad agencies when it doesn't increase measurable sales as much short term.

 

It's the sad truth. We as consumers are dumb and we buy the products from those shitty ads. If we didn't, those ads would not exists. Only good ones would.


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#6 Justin Hayward

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 02:05 PM

Isn't it interesting how Hovis, a brand of bread, always seems to strive to produce high quality adverts.

Some brands seem to really push for something special and others just seem to throw together 30 secs of tat.

I've never understood why it so wildly divergent.

What Adam said.  Every client is different.  I remember an agency guy telling me his usual dealings with clients are he pitches an idea and they buy it then tell him to take out everything that made it good.  I had a job a little while ago where we found out a key point in the concept didn't clear with legal two days before we were scheduled to shoot, so they took that thing out and suddenly the whole commercial made no sense.  It wasn't my fault, but I haven't been hired to direct anything with that agency since. 


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#7 Macks Fiiod

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 07:05 PM

Nike and the Jordan Brand kill it almost every time. Usually touting great copy writing or mind-blowing effects.

 

Jordan Brand and Gatorade years 2002, 2005, and 2009

https://www.youtube....h?v=RL6pYmybB9Y

https://www.youtube....h?v=PWBb3rxudWQ

https://www.youtube....h?v=PH8nTfxwByY

 

Also The NBA's "Where Amazing Happens" time traveler commercials are mind-blowing:

https://www.youtube....h?v=iSbx1umN7Lo

spectacular use of archived footage


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#8 Richard Boddington

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 08:58 PM

Many Canadians ask this question: How can Canadians make such great beer commercials and such horrible movies?


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#9 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 14 May 2016 - 11:57 PM

You certainly can. 30 seconds is tight, but you can get lots of emotion into that space, but normally the 45s and 60s ads reach further. When commercials work, they work beautifully. I have too many to list, some are just gorgeous or visceral experiences, some are funny and some are profoundly human.

 

Here are just a few of the more human or emotional ones that I can dig up now:

 

This super bowl ad from a few years back had a profound effect on the buyers and sparked the whole Imported From Detroit campaign. Everyone loves an underdog or comeback story and there is none better than Detroit rising from the ashes. First time I saw it i have to admit I got emotional. It's brilliant copywriting, making Americans proud of their car building history, something they hadn't been in a long time.

 

Here's one of my favorites directed by Seb Edwards for Hovis bread. A farmers lad begs to come along and help his farmer dad, who's a tough hard working guy. He runs the lad into the ground, but it has a very emotional ending. Excellent, yet simple filmmaking. Great casting.

 

Or this xmas classic from dir Dougal Wilson for John Lewis. A boy that can't wait for christmas..

 

 

This Apple classic has perhaps the best copywriting ever.

 

 

Here's a recent ad for swimmer Michael Phelps, directed by Martin De Turah that's pretty powerful.

 

Thank you for listing several great commercials. And I do agree with you, the more time you have, the more time you will have to make the viewer connect with the story. You also risk losing the viewer though.

 

Here is a beautiful one: 


Edited by Jan Tore Soerensen, 14 May 2016 - 11:57 PM.

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#10 Miguel Angel

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 04:46 AM

I also think that a good commercial has to connect with the viewer in an emotional way, or else it will be nothing but images going through a tv. 

 

However, I also believe that once you have achieved that connection, you have to broaden its horizons and make it as universal as you can. 

 

The ads that Adam linked achieve that, as well as the Volvo ad, because they relate to everybody. 

 

The best commercial I have seen is the following one, which happens to be from Volvo too:

 

And you can see how they connected to a specific audience (Swedish people) by using a feeling called "vemod", which has no direct translation in English (it has in many other languages, including Spanish :D) and using images linked to one of the most well-known songs in Sweden.. and then by doing that they achieved something else, they created a world-wide audience because those feelings, even though there is no actual translation in English for them, appeal to everybody else in the world. 

 

Have a good day. 


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#11 Peter Bitic

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 05:10 AM

 

It's the sad truth. We as consumers are dumb and we buy the products from those shitty ads. If we didn't, those ads would not exists. Only good ones would.

It's equally dumb to buy the products from shitty ads as it is from good ads. People shouldn't buy products based on the ads (unless those ads tell them some objective information that they didn't know before). From the standpoint of someone who buys bread I don't care if some bread company slaps a good short film before the picture of their bread or if they do some dumb commercial instead.

 

Then there is the insincere nature of the commercials, when usually the better the commercial is, the less it has to with the actual product. A  dumb commercial that tells you stuff about some product is less manipulating than a commercial that tries to only associate some feeling or emotion with their product. Almost all commercials try to do the latter to some extent, but the better they are the more they seem to be removed from the product. So as someone who despises the manipulation that goes on in marketing, I really can't appreciate someone who tries to manipulate me into buying some stupid stuff with an emotional propaganda film.


Edited by Peter Bitic, 16 May 2016 - 05:11 AM.

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#12 Miguel Angel

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:28 AM

That's a good point. 

 

However, "emotional propaganda films" are the ones used by the best brands in the world and even though you as an individual might not like the "manipulation" (is it actually a manipulation?), or might feel that you don't buy things from those brands, humankind reacts better to emotional branding than to other kind of adverts. 

 

At the end of the day, those brands don't want you to buy their products instantly, they just want to be in your subconscious so when you go and want to buy a new phone a couple of years later, you pick theirs rather than the other one because you have been bombarded with that emotional security / power / love from their ads making you believe that owning their phone will make you feel better.. and then, you buy it and it makes you feel better!

 

And it works! 

 

Sometimes those brands point at things which need to be seen, like Benneton's UNHATE campaign, and even though Benneton's final mission with that campaign is that you buy its products, they are very elegant. 

 

(By the way, I just love advertising and how it can manipulate people's mind! it was my favourite subject in uni!)

 

Have a good day. 


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#13 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:44 AM

I also think that a good commercial has to connect with the viewer in an emotional way, or else it will be nothing but images going through a tv. 

 

However, I also believe that once you have achieved that connection, you have to broaden its horizons and make it as universal as you can. 

 

The ads that Adam linked achieve that, as well as the Volvo ad, because they relate to everybody. 

 

The best commercial I have seen is the following one, which happens to be from Volvo too:

 

And you can see how they connected to a specific audience (Swedish people) by using a feeling called "vemod", which has no direct translation in English (it has in many other languages, including Spanish :D) and using images linked to one of the most well-known songs in Sweden.. and then by doing that they achieved something else, they created a world-wide audience because those feelings, even though there is no actual translation in English for them, appeal to everybody else in the world. 

 

Have a good day. 

That's a good point. Once the connection is established, one has to try to reach people at different stages in life. A mothers love for her child, the son who hasn't visited his parents in way too long, the feeling of lost love, nostalgia, hunger, romance. 

 

Do you think there are aspects we have to be careful of here? How far can we go before it is too much?

 

It's equally dumb to buy the products from shitty ads as it is from good ads. People shouldn't buy products based on the ads (unless those ads tell them some objective information that they didn't know before). From the standpoint of someone who buys bread I don't care if some bread company slaps a good short film before the picture of their bread or if they do some dumb commercial instead.

 

Then there is the insincere nature of the commercials, when usually the better the commercial is, the less it has to with the actual product. A  dumb commercial that tells you stuff about some product is less manipulating than a commercial that tries to only associate some feeling or emotion with their product. Almost all commercials try to do the latter to some extent, but the better they are the more they seem to be removed from the product. So as someone who despises the manipulation that goes on in marketing, I really can't appreciate someone who tries to manipulate me into buying some stupid stuff with an emotional propaganda film.

As long as a commercial has awaken an emotion in you. Be it disgust, or any good feeling, it has done it's job.


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#14 Peter Bitic

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 07:23 AM

I'm not even sure that's true (eg. is it really beneficial to a company that a person associates their product with a feeling of disgust?), but it's irrelevant to what I was saying anyway. I know what the purpose of the commercial is from the standpoint of the company and I wasn't discussing that aspect, but rather whether we as consumers should be rewarding "good commercials" over the "bad ones" and how I feel about manipulation in marketing and how good, "artistic" commercials can be more manipulative and insincere than the simple, bad ones.


Edited by Peter Bitic, 16 May 2016 - 07:24 AM.

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#15 Miguel Angel

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 03:23 PM

My apologies Peter! 

 

Regarding if as consumers we should reward good commercials over bad commercials, I think that good commercials are better than the bad ones, even though they try to be more manipulative, which I don't mind. 

 

I don't think that "good commercials" can be more insincere than the "bad ones", I actually believe that the "good ones" display the facts in a better way since you can see that they try to be more appealing.

 

Have a good day!


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#16 Adam Frisch FSF

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 03:35 PM

A good ad is no different than a good film. We're still getting sold something. In the first it's a product, in the second it's the film itself. I refuse to distinct the two. I used to have fights with the snobbism of record companies etc when they always asked for deals because we were making "art" when we did music videos. It can be art, but ultimately, we're selling something. In this case music.


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#17 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 04:11 PM

if memory serves this was done by film school students--and it runs long-- but damn-- this ad gets me

 

 

i think what we respond to in ads are the universals which were once the domain of the symbolic language of poetry. Sometimes, too, commercials ear towards nostalgia  such as :

 

 

but in the end like any good product, or artform, or what-have you, what makes a good ad is an ability to connect with people and form a synthesis between the idea of the ad and an emotional response in the viewer.

 

if you can capitalize on this-- if you can figure it out-- then hell, you'll be much better of than most of us.


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#18 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 06:34 PM

if memory serves this was done by film school students--and it runs long-- but damn-- this ad gets me

 

 

i think what we respond to in ads are the universals which were once the domain of the symbolic language of poetry. Sometimes, too, commercials ear towards nostalgia  such as 

 

but in the end like any good product, or artform, or what-have you, what makes a good ad is an ability to connect with people and form a synthesis between the idea of the ad and an emotional response in the viewer.

 

if you can capitalize on this-- if you can figure it out-- then hell, you'll be much better of than most of us.

Now that one is powerful. I guess this one speaks to everyone with a sibling.


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#19 Adrian Sierkowski

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 07:25 PM

Speaks I think, to anyone with a family at all.


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#20 Jan Tore Soerensen

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Posted 16 May 2016 - 07:32 PM

Speaks I think, to anyone with a family at all.

You are probably right!

 

This one got some talk over here when it was released. Quite clever.


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