Friday, November 30, 2012

The robots are coming - Creative Excellence Fridays

As a boy I grew up watching black and white sci-fi cheese on Saturday afternoons on Sir Graves Ghastly (local kids host out of Detroit). Plan 9 from Outerspace, Creature from the Black Lagoon, The Day the Earth Stood Still; these were the movies produced on 12 bucks and a case of cola and made so much money for the studios at the time.
They spawned a generation of sci-fi fans who grew up watching the original Star Trek, Voyage to the Bottom of the Sea and Lost in Space. Fans of Big Bang Theory will know that the characters on the show are regulars at ComicCon and probably card carrying members to every Star Trek convention ever held. GE and BBDO New York worked off this premise to produce the latest commercial to promote GE's latest round of smart products. What's even more unique about this commercial is the fact that it's produced by the husband and wife directing team of Jonathan Dayton and Valerie Faris. Their original fame came from doing music videos before branching out to feature films. They directed one of my favourite movies from 2006, Little Miss Sunshine. The commercial is whimsical but make no mistake, it's appropriate well crafted institutional advertising for GE, and very good at it.




This next commercial from Honda is an institutional brand enhancer too.  It borrows from the naive emotions of Pixar's Wally to guide you through a history of innovations.




DDB Barcelona produced this touching little spot  that plays off of the tin man from the Wizard of Oz complete with a nostalgic gramophone like version of the song.



And finally, a spot from Hardees advocating the use of real people to make real food.  You may have read recently that fast food chains are currently testing robots for food assembly.   Not at Hardees.  No sirree.



Coming up next Friday, a look at Christmas campaigns including the new Old Navy series.  See something that made you think or blink?   Drop me a line so I can share and share a like. 

Have a great weekend.


With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer/voice performer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

A Facebook promotion using video - Ontrack Communications

Facebook contests are pretty much standard operating procedure now for most marketing departments. And video has become an integral part of promoting the contest, and explaining the process.

Prudent Financial wanted to donate some money to SickKids in Toronto.  But instead of a straight donation, we thought it would be fun to tie it in with a celebration of unselfishness.    The contest asks people to share their holiday wish for a loved one, a neighbour, a country, a cause on the Prudent Facebook page.  And to say thanks for sharing,  each Friday the wish with the most votes wins a $100 gift certificate from a popular Toronto retailer or restaurant.




We are using offline media including print and radio as well as a digital footprint to drive the contest.

The only problem with holiday promotions is that you get all in the spirit of things and just want to sit around the office drinking mulled wine!

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.
Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, November 23, 2012

Spots that hold the focus - Creative Excellence Fridays

If you read this blog with any frequency, you already know that our golden rule is "don't entertain the life out of the selling point".  If your humour or drama goes in such a radical direction that people have no idea what you're selling, you might as well put the clients money in a blender and set it to stun.


This commercial for Samsung TV's builds a pretty dramatic and convincing argument for buying a new flat screen.



This spot  focuses on soccer madness, but I guarantee it would work in Canada under the guise of football, or hockey (if they ever get back on the ice).



Next up, a commercial from one of my favourite on going series, Capital One.   Capital One has really pushed the brand into new territory with their humour ads and positioning statement "What's in your wallet".  This campaign began back in 2000 with D'arcy advertising.  Then in 2011 Capital One moved it over to McCann Erickson.  Odd move given the number of awards D'arcy won on their behalf. Here's the very funny Vikings commercial from 2009.  




Next up, an interesting twist on bank commercials; letting the consumer direct the spot. It's probably influenced by the Capital One popularity.



This definitely has a Capital One feel to it.  I applaud the bank's initiative to get the consumer involved, even though you can bet the whole process is being very closely monitored and the actual, final commercial will have the full filtered approval of the agency I'm sure.



That's it for this week.  Thanks for stopping by. If you have ideas or themes for future Creative Excellent Friday's, remember, sharing is good. Have a great weekend.


With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Gap vs Mac - who started it all. Creative Excellence Fridays

Much has been said about the time and attention Mac has put into their brand over the last twenty or so years. Some say they invented a new way of visually packaging themselves. Steve Jobs spent on average about two hours a day with his agency to carefully massage the message and brand. But are they really the pioneers of the new mode of messaging? I challenge they are not. The Gap has come a long way since their humble beginnings in 1969 when founders Donald and Doris Fisher opened the first Gap store on Ocean Avenue in San Francisco. The first Gap's merchandise consisted of Levi's and LPs. In the 1990's the Gap had a successful celebrity print campaign that featured the likes of Steve McQueen.
A solid brand association and strategic move as McQueen's legacy only builds after his passing in 1980.




























Their celebrity association continues with a variety of current personalities including Jennifer Garner.

I remember standing in a Gap store in midtown Manhattan six years ago and seeing this commercial playing in the store. I felt they had really nailed it. Sex and The City was hotter than ever and Lenny Kravitz created the soundtrack of cool.





We pull it back to 1999 with this next spot starring the beacon of cool at the time LLCool J.



Remember this spot from 1998? Bing Crosby breaks it down. 
 


Now check this out. Same approach, but with a very cool twist in post.
 


This spot definitely has it's own uniqueness, but it's hard to deny that the Gap pioneered edgy, face to the camera, multi-cut, multi music advertising. . Much credit goes out to long time agency TBWAChiatDay.  The Gap has had some re-alignment since "logo gate" in 2011.  It will be interesting to see what direction Ogilvy takes the brand after 24 years under the guidance of Marka Hansen.

In the Gap vs Apple brand debate, Apple simply took a page from Nigel's mantra in Spinal Tap, and turned it up to 11. Which is better? It's like asking which painting do you like better, Piccaso's "Guernica" or MirĂ³s "Upside Down Figures." Does it really matter? 


With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.
Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, November 9, 2012

Rube Goldbergesque commercials- Creative Excellence Fridays

Rube Goldberg was a cartoonist from the first half of the last century. He was famous for "contraptions". You've seen countless movies and commercials influenced by his style. The golf ball rolls off the counter, trips the mousetrap that flies in the air and knocks over the bowl of cereal that.. etc. etc.



This commercial has some Goldbergesque qualities to it, although it's mostly the doings of the wily chamelion bartender.






Full marks to Heineken for a beautifully done spot, and extra kudos to the digital editing department.



  With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.
Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Animations make things more fun - Creative Excellence Fridays

This week in the Creative Excellence weekly salute to creative - we look at unique uses of animation.  We'd known since the beginning of time that long rambling stories are better when there are pictures to go with them.

That's the nature of animation.  It just makes story telling and long boring facts, much more ... well, fun!

Here's an animation from the creators of the Simpson.    This has  a retro 60's feel to it from the limited animation Hanna Barbera days.  And  you can see the influence Jib Jab has had on political animation.





We recently had the pleasure of working with a company called Yumalite.  It's a light that helps offset the effects of the winter blahs from a lack of sunlight. We produced a 2 minute infomercial for them that included several fun animations to show how their product works.
My favourite is the guy eating chips.  Mmmm chips.





Ikea had a long story about moving their store. Something that's kind of hard to make interesting. But this animation really works. And the sound design is very effective too with a sparkling sound track sprinkled with well executed sound effects.


 

I know... I sound like your grade 3 teacher, but cartoons really do make learning more fun. And I have a feeling my grade three teacher especially appreciated them because he would sneak out during the presentation for a cigarette.

I rest my case.     

With over 30 years experience, Tim McLarty  currently works out of Toronto Canada as a writer, producer and media strategist producing advertising and entertainment content.

Ontrackblog is a division of OntrackCommunications Inc.