Thursday, 28 February 2013

Week 16 (Thurs 14 Feb - Production Theory 2)

Today was focused on our next assignment: Making a 30 second commercial for a product or service, once again in teams of two (this time I was paired with Jessica McMullen. To get the ball rolling, we watched some product pitches made by one of the main characters in the television series Mad Men, and how he would talk about the product and its uses, and how in turn, the company could market it and sell, bringing up ideas of 'Family', 'Time', 'Freedom' and 'Quality' and how that appeals to the ideals and dreams of the American consumer.

Then, we watched some real advertisements for different products, looking at how the film makers approached it and sold the product: some were very straight forward and displayed the product upfront, and some were more inventive and about leaving an impression, including a Coca-Cola tie-in with Skyfall that had people going on timed challenges across a train station, set to the Bond theme, and a commercial for the Guardian that used a 'real-life' version of the Three Little Pigs story, and how social media would be used to react to the actions of the pigs and the wolf, the news all being handled by the Guardian on different platforms (newspapers, social media, their website, tablets etc.)
Though some argued that the ads didn't make one want to buy the product, others argued that it was about keeping the brand in public consciousness and relevance.

Afterwards, in today's task, we went off in our pairs and began pre-production on our commercial, selecting what we wanted to sell and how we would do it. Me and Jessica selected make-up, feeling it would stand out from the more expected food and drinks we imagined others would do. We did research, selecting L'Oreal as our company and reading up their history and list of products on their website, as well as studying their previous advertisements, noting the use of bright colours, floating words that display facts and percentages about the product, and the use of predominantly white models in their 20s. With that, we presented our findings and early idea to the class, who thought it would be interesting and quite a challenge, but noting the question of originality and how our advert could stand out from others.

In conclusion, today was interesting, mainly due to the new challenge: one thinks very broadly, at first, of commercials as just tools to sell products, but there is a surprising amount of intelligence and craft involved that seperates the effective adverts from the more mediocre, pedestrian kind, a good deal of which comes down to creativity and freshness, a means of keeping the product relevant in peoples' minds, even if it may not actively try to force it upon them. And this make-up idea definitely presents a challenge, and finding a model within such a small time frame will not be easy, but I enjoy a good challenge, and this is a lot easier than the philosophical nature of the 'Space' piece from the last few weeks.

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