Friday, May 30, 2014

Rube Goldberg continues to influence ads and pop culture long after his death - Creative Excellence Fridays

It's a huge honour to win the Rube Goldberg Award (the Reuben).  It's an award given to the cartoonist of the year and named in honour of a cartooning pioneer. Reuben Garrett Lucius "Rube" Goldberg  was an American cartoonist, sculptor, author, engineer and inventor. His claim to fame were his series of cartoons depicting complicated gadgets that perform simple tasks in indirect, convoluted ways.  Why put two pieces of toast in a toaster when you can rig up 1 minute of  stunts leading up to it.

  contraptions-goldberg

Goldberg was a founding member and the first president of the National Cartoonists Society. He is the inspiration for various international competitions, known as Rube Goldberg Machine Contests, which challenge participants to make a complicated machine to perform a simple task. For cartoon enthusiasts, there is a new book out that was written by his grand daughter.  The Art of Rube Goldberg.  It's a coffee table book that I spent far too long leafing through at Indigo last weekend. Why all the attention to Rube Goldberg in a column normally focused on the ad industry?  Because Goldberg's influence on style and art direction still touches us even today.  I came across this outstanding ad from Purina and wanted to share it.



This ad is pure magic.  Not just because it ties in with a 20th century iconic cartoonist. It follows the 3 cardinal rules of commercial advertising.
  1. Communicate the main selling proposition in an entertaining way.
  2. Appeal to the right emotional trigger.
  3. Make them remember who you are.
You can't have a better hand off than the message at the end of the ad "Play...it's good for you."  And the art direction brands the Purina colours all the way through.  You're glued to the ad til the end.  And even better, you have to watch it at least a few more times to notice the subtleties of the dog wagging his tail to trip the lever or the puppies slightly shifting their weight to push the wagon down the ramp. This is brilliant on every level.  And best of all, it's just fun and very sharable.  The only thing missing was having one of the dogs trip a lever after taking a selfie.  But I'm sure that'll be in the sequel.

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.

Friday, May 16, 2014

You be the director - Creative Excellence Fridays

Gus Van Sant Gus Van Zant is an Oscar winning director. His work spans from Finding Forrester to Goodwill Hunting. He has a brilliant eye with meaningful attention to detail. And it's no better illustrated than in the latest offerings he created for BMW. A few years back BMW started reaching out to A list Hollywood actors, giving them a comfortable budget, a list of car characteristics and cart blanche to work their magic within those open parameters. Gus did something a little different. He produced the same spot, three times with three different actors.

 Version 1 - featuring Sam Hazeldine who plays Caleb on ABC's new hit, Resurrection. Version 2, a rarity for car commercials. A woman as the spokesperson. Mickey Sumner from Noah Baumbach's Frances Ha. And Version 3. It features Michael Pitt who played "Jimmy" on Boardwalk Empire. Okay. The question posed to you now. You have to rank in order or priority. You must choose one version to air during a broadcast a MadMen. It's a fairly even split of male/female with an above average education and income. How would you rank them down?

 Here are my picks and explanation.

#1 Sam Hazeldine. I think this spot just stood out more. His piercing eyes, the delivery and even Van Sant's choice of visuals including the screen dominating eyeball. The performance felt true.

#2 Mickey Sumner.  But I struggled with whether she should be #1. It was close.  She has the British sophistication and Shakespearean intensity. And I chose her before I knew she also had the pedigree of being Sting and Trudie Styler's progeny.  It  feels edgy and Masterpiece Theatre at the same time.

#3 Michael Pitt. I very much appreciated his intensity in Boardwalk Empire. But somehow his tortured spirit doesn't come out here. It seems slightly contrived. Either that or the dialogue just didn't resonate with his Jersey roots.  I just wanted him to raise his voice and lose his cool.  You feel Mickey Sumner's build up.  Here you do not.

 Cudos to BMW for continuing to push the creative envelope. I can't wait to see where they go next.






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.

Friday, May 9, 2014

A list celebrities selling coffee for cash - George Clooney leads the pack - Creative Excellence Fridays

In a land long ago, before the internet, celebrities had dirty little secrets.  The secret?  They had done a commercial. They had sold their soul for "the man".   But because the commercial was only airing in Finland, it never really happened. Then along came the internet.  Those old commercials starting showing up online.  The cat was out of the bag.  That's when it all happened.   A list celebs started doing commercials out of the closet.

George Clooney, Robert DeNiro, Charlize Theron.  It was no longer a career taboo.  Being in a carefully constructed ad had become...well...cool.  We're not talking Henry Winkler One Reverse Mortgage; we're talking Martini, Chanel and now...N'Esspresso. And a rather unconventional commercial for N'esspresso featuring George Clooney and John Malkovich.



 And here's Kiera Knightly  in her Chanel commercial.  Inspired by  The Girl with The Dragon Tattoo and Audrey Hepburn. Beautifully shot with the irony of  "It's a Man's World" playing in the background.

 

 And finally, my favourite of recent weeks simply because William Shatner doesn't care.  He shamelessly does it for the money and doesn't pretend otherwise.  And he pokes fun at himself, as does Big Bang Theory's Kaley Cuoco.



Great production values, some campy smiles and no one was hurt in the making of this commercial.  It's all good.




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.