Everyone’s well aware that Muhammad Ali could talk. But Louis Vitton’s recent campaign honouring the boxer, and connecting a person’s journey through life to the geographical travel directly concerning their products, reminds viewers that Ali’s words weren’t just talking; they was writing.
In the spots, riveting work by Ogilvy Paris, some of Ali’s most famous diatribes are related for the viewer by Yasiin Bey (formerly known as Mos Def), while ‘calligraffiti’ artist Niels Show Meulman does his thing on the canvas underfoot.
You can’t help but be taken up in the phrases. The rhyme schemes are so pleasantly gripping, they offer fervor and repetition as the action rises, carrying you upward with them, and then break into a slowed fruition that shatters the expected rhyme and demands your attention. The metaphors and hyperbole fit so naturally into these lines, and Def delivers with his standard charisma, a brushstroke of Brooklyn in everything he does. Compounded upon Ali’s immense personality, it’s simply wonderful.
Ptch is a new social media service now available in the App Store, and what is said to be an Instagram-esque platform for videos. The service allows you to combine your videos, pictures, Instagram shots, and music into montages directly on your phone. You then share your creation through Facebook, Twitter, Tumblr, Google+ Instagram, and Viddy. It seems interesting, but we shall see how it fares upon the unforgiving seas of the cyber.
July 15 marks the return of the pure, unrepentant badassery known as the AMC original program Breaking Bad. The show’s fifth season debuts this Sunday, and I’m confident it’ll be spectacular. To herald its triumphant resurgence, let’s revisit some of Heisenberg’s most boss moments.
Oh my damn. Check this one out, folks.
Google’s Nexus Q is a social entertainment hub that intends to weave human interaction into digital media and social networking platforms. I must say, this little sphere of futurism has already got me thinking about an Android phone.
Over the years, myths of fast food photography have abounded. Frozen vegetables to plump the burger, a quick greasy rub down to glisten the patty, even utterly plastic buns and cheese. In the interest of dialogue, McDonald’s has created a video about their food photography process, in response to a customer’s inquiry. The brand has also created a complete Q&A website, to quell all the rumours about their food’s makeup. In this instance, rather than deflecting accusations that the vittles in their advertisements look better than store-made food, they’re showing exactly why this is the case.
Surprisingly enough, the intensive photography process actually defends the brand. The backwards tilts of the bun explains the visible ingredients, and the overall responsivity of the company naturally reflects well. Certainly, one can question the veracity of the video, as well as McDonald’s selectivity in choosing questions to answer, but the brand seems to have shone a positive light on itself. It’ll be interesting to see what other questions they respond to.
Also, for absolutely no reason, SoulDecision.
Clothing brands tend to market on lifestyle, attracting customers based on the atmosphere and culture of their products. Clothing lines have established identities, and the people who are faithful to them endorse those identities. However, the hardest part of presenting clothes this way is the disconnect between the handsome vagrant wearing the jacket you want and incessantly living life, and you actually going to the store and buying the jacket. The fantastical moment where you develop desire for the item gives way to the mundane minutiae of travelling to the store, purchasing the item, and returning home. To combat this, Danish fashion brand ONLY, champions of the “denim revolution” and “true jeans-attitude”, created an interactive film that is both impassioned narrative and robust product catalogue.
The film, titled ‘The Liberation’, follows three rambunctious young ladies as they roll through a sleepy town, and proceed to wake it up. The three go about a day’s worth of adventures, changing outfits repeatedly and bleeding the ONLY brand in everything they do. ONLY collaborated with agencies Uncle Grey and North Kingdom to create the responsive film. At any point during viewing, the viewer can pause the film by clicking their mouse. When paused small icons appear over the girls’ clothing, and the user can mouse over them to get more information about the item. They can then post to Facebook, tweet, pin, or buy the item. It’s both promotion and point of purchase, completely connecting the desire to buy to the actual decision to do so.
Interactivity is very popular, and for obvious reasons. People spend more time on an experience they have some control over, and the novelty of it drastically increases the likelihood that they’ll share the experience with their friends. ONLY’s site aims to push the envelope for responsivity, just like this solar-powered annual report for Austria Solar, as on-brand as you can be. In particular, interactive print is always nice to see.
Brands will surely continue to create immersive experiences that are larger than any single medium. As Andrea Phillips posits in this transmedia article, there are several hurdles hampering audience engagement across media. So, to blend offerings the way ONLY did is both astute and exciting. And so does the wheel roll, ever-advancing.
A real quick one this week folks. This year, two novels I love intimately will be turned into films. Jack Kerouac’s On The Road, and F. Scott Fitzgerald’s The Great Gatsby. Basically, this has me sick with worry, but the films may turn out fantastic. It’s improbable, but I’m thinking wishfully. For those who haven’t seen them yet, here are the trailers.
On The Road
Also, this trailer for upcoming film The Master is just wild and awesome. Enjoy.
Branded films are the logical evolution of commercials and product placement. Rather than just inserting their product, message, or offering into content that audiences are flocking too, brands are electing to create that content — to become that flocking point. It’s not a new avenue, but it is an advancing one. For example, this short film titled ‘A Therapy’ was commissioned by Prada and recently premiered at the Cannes Film Festival.
Recent years have seen branded films from Chivas Regal and Dior, to name only a couple. A somewhat similar tactic is now being employed by Nike Football, who created an interactive cinematic experience on YouTube. The marketing for the film Prometheus is also using short films to extend the word of the feature-length, something I mentioned in an earlier blog post.
These branded shorts aren’t marketers emulating filmic direction and tropes to evoke the sense of cinema. They are marketers hiring Hollywoodland talent (actors, directors, the whole kit and) to build their products and brands into immersive experiences. The films go a long way in defining the tone of a brand, and building a narrative for its products. They can range from conjuring mystique and intrigue around an understated brand to standing as a veritable instruction manual for a boldly presented one. Even standard 30-second spots are coming to resemble these branded films more and more.
The question that lingers around these branded films is whether they are hearkening to media trends gone by, or the evolution of the old ways into something modern and relevant. Brands sometimes serialize the shorts (New Era for example) to create identification between their characters and the audience. The coming years will either see these films fall by the wayside, or develop into something even more immersive. But as they are, largely events of passive viewership, they may not last. However, if the films are now considered impartial enough to screen at Cannes, who knows where they can go. Genuine entertainment will hold audiences, whether there’s a brand behind it or not. If you can get your audience knowingly engaged with your brand for seven straight minutes, you must be doing something right.
Alligators swimming the sewers, mole people bunkered in subway tunnels; New York City is no stranger to denizens of the underground. But Dan Barasch and James Ramsey are pushing this reality further still. The duo are turning an abandoned trolley terminal, abandoned in 1948, into an actual underground park.
The space, dubbed ‘Delancey Underground’ or ‘LowLine’, will be NYC’s first underground park. LowLine is embracing the digital capabilities of 2012 to convert a subterranean cave into a gala of sunlight, greenery, and fresh air. It’ll use fiber optic cables to gather and transfer sunlight from the surface. The cables will even support photosynthesis, making natural trees and shrubbery a definite inclusion in LowLine. Barasch and Ramsey are partnering with the same engineering firm working on the + Pool initiative, also in NYC. + Pool is working on developing filtration systems that would make public pools possible in some on New York’s most befouled waters.
The LowLine project already ran on Kickstarter, and raised more than enough funds to proceed into its next stage. This seems revolutionary. It’s terraformation. It’s one small step closer to (Kim Stanley Robinson’s) Red Mars, Green Mars, Blue Mars.
All in all, this is really, really cool.