Wes Anderson, Ellie Goulding and Short Film Advertising
  • THURSDAY, NOVEMBER 14, 2013

  • Posted by: Matt Howard

There's a trend gaining prominence in the world of digital consumer advertising and it's called the "short film". In this format, we're presented with a piece of video content, usually around 10-minutes in length, that possesses narrative, and, of course a brand sponsor. Essentially, we're watching prettied-up, extended commercials masquerading as dramatic works of fiction, but this week it became clear that some are exploring this trend with far more success than others. To begin, let's look at the example of a successful "short film" advertisement. This one, released yesterday, is called CASTELLO CAVALCANTI. It was directed by acclaimed eccentric Wes Anderson, stars Jason Schwartzman and Giada Colagrande, and was sponsored by Prada. Notice I mentioned the brand last. This is because in this instance the product behind the production is only credited, and it's never flaunted. Throughout the short, charming story, you never forget about Prada, but you're free to enjoy the clip as you're never slapped in the face with a barrage of their latest line of handbags. Success.
The second "short film" advertisement, however, wasn't so successful. Listed under Ellie Goulding's Vevo account, where you'll find all of her music videos, is a short film entitled Tom and Issy. Twenty seconds into the video, we're prompted with the message, "Shot entirely on a Nokia Lumia 1020," but nowhere in the press release were we informed that this was a sponsored production. And if that was our only indication within the film that Nokia was involved, it could have been benefited the product. Yet throughout the lengthy story, they've attempted to make the obnoxious, yellow device a featured character in the monotonous romance.
The difference between a success and a flop lies in the transparency of the production. Evidently there's a balancing act between the value of the story line and the product's promotion. If greater value is given to the narrative, the message surrounding product will rightfully avail. It was clear that Prada was involved with CASTELLO CAVALCANTI, and the simple knowledge of this partnership only improved the image. Tom and Issy, however, tried to sneak a product in assuming we're mindless consumers, making an ugly phone look even more tacky.
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