Friday, September 2, 2011

The greatest car ad ever

DC shoes has yet another installment of its wildly popular viral video series. The latest, posted here, has already been viewed seven and a half million times on Youtube since August 16th.

As my friend, Rick Rusch, said when he emailed the link to me, "I think I want a Ford Fiesta..."

DC may have paid for this. They're logo may be all over it. But undoubtedly the stars of this epic production are Ken Block and his Fiesta.

Yes, DC features its products right up front – the shoe on the foot of a leg being eaten by a zombie, the jacket exploding, the hat sliced in half by a samurai – but by the time you get to the end of Block's amazing feats of automotive acrobatics, I don't remember anything but the car.

Not that I'm complaining. I'd rather see this than glamor shots of their products. Plus, I'm sure they do a lot of event and in-store marketing to close the loop on these.

I have no idea what DC's sales are like, but I applaud their effort and hope it's paying off for them. It's certainly paying off for Ford.

Thursday, September 1, 2011

Pen and ink and pixels

Now this is cool.

If I were a designer, illustrator, animator, art director or just knew how to draw a straight line, I'd be first in line for one of these.

Coming soon from Wacom, the Inkling (great name) is a pen that writes in ink on paper while it also captures your sketches digitally in vector layers through a receiver. You can then import your sketches and refine them in Photoshop or Illustrator. 

If it works in practice as well as it seems to in the video, I can see a lot of these in agencies and design firms in the very near future.

Wednesday, August 31, 2011

How not to use a celebrity in a commercial

Let me start this post by saying I like Tim Gunn. I like him on Project Runway. He's a good mentor to the designers, a tough critic of their work with a lot of experience who provides enough support through the creative process to help them through their task.

But this commercial for Expedia makes him look like a buffoon and I blame the agency.

First, it's a lazy concept.
"Hey, with expedia people get to 'design' their own vacations, let's have Tim Gunn coach people on how to do that!" Ugh.

Second, the writing is insipid. 
"Let's take every catchphrase the man uses in on Project Runway and cram them randomly into the spot connecting our copy points." This felt like it was written between sips of coffee a few hours before the client meeting.

Third the direction is terrible.
They couldn't possibly have made him look any worse or any more stiff. Clearly they didn't do any research before the spot to see how direct-able he'd be. Just because someone is on TV doesn't mean they can act. Appearing on an unscripted reality show is different from hitting a mark an reading lines off a teleprompter. Not everyone can do it, that's why we pay actors.

Featuring celebrities in your spot is not always a bad idea. I've worked with Dabney Coleman, Bjorn Borg, Ernie Harwell, John Candy and others over the years. They can bring interest, credibility and humanity to your message when used correctly. But too often they're reduced to two-dimensional caricatures which leads to ridiculous spots like this. 

Tuesday, August 30, 2011

Is BMW on the right road?

BMW has a new agency. Well, kind of.

After a five month review that included agencies from across the country, BMW parked it's brand in New York at KBS+P, an agency that's been doing dealer and other special projects for BMW over the past few years. Their work includes this spot for the BMW clean diesel.

It's a spot that gives me hope for two reasons. First it positions it as the "performance diesel" designed to deliver a superior driving experience. Second it closes with BMW's iconic tagline, "The Ultimate Driving Machine."

After the failed experiment with the "emotional" tagline of Joy, I hope they've come to their senses and will let BMW be BMW again. Time will tell. And I'll be watching.