Last year was filled with often moving and profound you tube advertising campaigns, especially in the last quarter of last year as the significant events of the year un-folded.
BMW – Make Life a Ride
Beautifully filmed and managing to reach surprising depths, BMW released a surprising powerful video for their ‘ Make Life a Ride’ campaign. The advert begins with an opening shot of a morning view of a beach. A young boy is enjoying the view from the beach; a young woman is watching the sunrise from a window of her trendy New York apartment. The various subtle contrasts make this video immediately engaging: cityscape vs. landscape, child vs. adult and low angle to high angle camera movement.
A series of quick cuts shows various people working hard at their passions for life, whether that is an engineer in a workshop or a surfer catching a wave at 5am. They are all united in their passions for achievement. An audio narrative in the form of a radio programme sample, confirms what the visuals are communicating to the viewer: these are self-starting individuals who have personal goals that will not rest until they get there.
What makes this effective derives from the unusual choices by the director. One of the most significant of these is that BMW and motor engineering in general are made a secondary focus to the key message of the video: fully embrace taking part in the journey of life and ‘ Don’t Settle….Go!’ as the audio narrative puts it.
There are of course various shots of BMW motorbikes carefully clustered together throughout. Subtly stylised through steady-cam camera shots, edited in time with the dominant synth sounds within the music composition.
What is very striking about the advert is that the natural world and the man made world are not shown as separate. They are instead shown as both part of the same thing, making the most of your life, your personal world and your time on the world. The man made world of BMW can help your fulfil your personal goal and your identity in the natural world and therefore they are one and the same.
Apple – iPad Air – Your Verse
Apple’s iPad Air advert joined BMW in its surprisingly different approach to video advertising in 2014. Contrasting to what we had come to expect from Apple with their lifestyle approach to offline/online video advertising that became so conventional to the degree it became a genre in itself (so much so that it became ripe for parody from Ikea in the later part of the year, which we will move onto shortly).
Apple decide to take a Terrence Malik approach to filmmaking with the camera being at a constant high angle, gliding no more than 2 feet above the floor. Using the camera as either a distant gaze or at an unusually close proximity to the focus of interest. Creating the effect of overwhelming beauty in the eye of the viewer, as if they are seeing something through someone else’s eyes for the first time. The camera is constantly playing with its surroundings throughout the video and it is always very inquisitive about movement and light within each surrounding. The sound within the advert is very haunting, there is a powerful monologue read by Robin Williams questioning the meaning of life. Accompanied by an audio track of a distant wind, interrupted by the textural sounds created from the movement we are seeing on screen.
The advert begins with panning landscape shot of a wind farm at sea. Immediately showing the viewer an example of nature and technology enabling each other when they are in harmony together, therefore setting the scene for the theme of the advert. This is followed by various quick shots of nature at its most volatile and fierce.
We are shown various scenes that are not clearly connected to one another. These include: an Asian rock band, an American ice hockey match and a western documentary filmmaker. Showcasing various ways that this Apple Air has dramatically improved the way in which people can make the most of these natural environments. Apple technology is not an alternative to the world we knew previously. But something that can improve the same experience they had with the natural world.
The central theme (as it is reflected in the tittle) is around the human contribution to the world we live in. How the iPad air can help you contribute in a unique way that was not possible before. This technology was created for individuals, what may be exciting and life changing to one person about this technology may not be significant to the other person. The ending of the audio voice over repeats ‘And the powerful play goes on and you may contribute a verse….what will your verse be? ‘.
This includes the viewer in this ‘powerful play’ and therefore adds considerable weight to the question ‘ what will your verse be?’
This cleverly uses the product as a bridge for them to think about their own existence, which they are in the world and how they will therefore use their iPad Air to better their role of the ‘ Powerful Play’.
IKEA – Experience the power of a Book Book
With more than 16,387,057 views to date, this campaign went viral around the world. A very well observed parody of apples MacBook video marketing and a reaction to Ikea’s signature catalogue, being a traditional book ‘ Book Book’ instead of a MacBook (pro or otherwise).
In this hilarious 3 minute and 26 second video, Ikea have managed to capture all the clichés the public have began to expect from Apple’s MacBook video campaigns and added their own personal stamp, with the inclusion of the main interviewee being a blonde haired Swedish man.
From the script to the formulated structure and filmic choices, this deconstructs apples approach to advertising and makes them look rather silly in the process. The video manages to relentlessly list the benefits of having a traditional book over any other form of digital book (whether that is a MacBook or an E-book), in the same powerful and profound way that Apple tend to list the benefits of their technology to the user.