Rad and Bad Ads No. 23-005
This is one of my all-time faves.
The casting is incredible.
His look, his height, his wardrobe, his accent – that hat.
The music sets a sombre tone.
It primes you to feel bad for this guy even when he’s being a jerk.
The physical comedy is perfect.
Funny enough to keep you watching, but not so over-the-top that it feels forced.
The voiceover is emotional.
And leads you on a wonderful journey without giving away the destination.
The “curiosity engine” hums.
Why is he doing this? And what will he do next?
The cinematography is worthy of an Academy Award.
This is an ad that looks like a movie.
The moment of connection is pure joy.
Finally! Someone sees him!
And the payoff…
The model of a windmill that was right there behind him the whole time.
The whole time!
And you didn’t notice – until you did.
The pièce de résistance?
A short, simple line that pays off the idea perfectly.
He’s the wind.
And he’s a winner.
PS I used shots from this ad as reference for my very first short film. See if you can spot them.
Rad and Bad Ads
with Eran Thomson
This spot, on the other hand, blows.
Why is a modern Irish wind energy company using an old American President to sell its services?
Because he came and spoke to them once?
Using other people’s words usually means you can’t think of anything to say yourself.
It’s borrowed interest.
And they’re borrowing from someone who hasn’t been interesting since the 60s.
For a brand that’s all about the future, this is old hat.
Couldn’t they have written something only this company could say, and then gotten an Irish person say it?
Not only is this slideshow boring as hell, there’s also almost no reason to watch.
There’s too much reading.
It’s too long for too little of a reward.
And the overuse of mismatched stock imagery diminishes the perception of the brand.
Before we even know who it is.
Once we do, another thing becomes clear…
They put as much thought into this ad as they did when naming their company.
And no matter how you spin it, it’s bad.
PS If you’re wondering what the hell the Dáil is, let me save you some googling.
Coulda Shoulda Woulda
I never like to say an ad is bad without offering some thoughts on how it might be improved.
After all, judging is easy and ideas are hard.
But I don’t know if you can really fix this sort of thing.
Whoever made this made at least one creative choice.
The way the words blow off screen as if by a gust of wind.
But it looks like a cheap iMovie effect rather than a crafted animation.
The vignette helps tie things together, but the image choices are uninspired.
And “the power to power ourselves” tagline sounds like it’s for an energy drink.
Would “The power to power our planet” work better?
It’s less patriotic and personal, but also less confusing.
If I had to polish this up, I’d tighten the edit so there aren’t long bits of black between shots and to make the speech shorter.
I’d color grade all the stock imagery so it felt like one cohesive piece.
I’d put more dynamic moves on the images to make it more energetic and visually arresting.
Wherever possible I’d use videos instead of photos to help it be less of a slideshow.
And I’d intercut archival footage of Kennedy making this speech.
That way you could get rid of the supers at the start.
And it would be infinitely more powerful.
PS. It is possible to make decent ads using stock imagery. It’s hard, but possible. One of my most famous ads is proof.
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