Posts Tagged ‘Commercials’

Chipotle Advertises Carnitas Burritos with a Side of Social Message

March 10, 2012

The following may have happened over a month ago, but attention spans are a funny wait hold on…

Attention spans are a funny thing. They keep us from–shit, I’ll be right back.

Okay. Attention spans. We don’t have much of these things anymore! Whether the short-term consequence of too much iPhone time or some scarier rewriting of our fundamental biology triggered by a forever changed information landscape, it’s hard to argue that we’re not the…almost focused people we once were. Be honest: when you see a 5-minute YouTube video, you hesitate to click. It’s too damn long. Consider a 3-hour movie or many-more-hours-long book (fuck THAT), and there’s no point denying it: we’re cat video people now, and if you haven’t gotten our attention in about two minutes then you’re never going to get it.

Hence commercials as our storytelling medium du jour. In 18-20 fewer minutes than you’d spend watching the latest episode of ‘I Hate My Teenage Daughter,’ you can tell a complete story. And in all kinds of genres! “Boys will be boys” Budweiser commercials. American auto industry by way of ‘Friday Night Lights’ Chrysler spots. And sometimes ads that go deeper — videos that accomplish their default surface-level promotion while tapping into something of greater social relevance. The latest addition to the Commercial Hall of Fame? Chipotle.

Obviously people love both pigs AND twee sensibilities (an upcoming ‘New Girl’ storyline where Jess adopts an albino pig will probably unmake the universe), so the commercial’s aiming at a very calculated sweet spot. But DUH, that’s the definition of “commercial.” And this one hits nowhere near the levels of emotional manipulation found in the “Kony2012” video, instead opting for an almost minimalist approach to getting its message across. In 2 minutes and 20 seconds, you’ve got a visually arresting journey from farm to industrial hell and back to farm again, all done without words (minus Willie Nelson’s cover of “The Scientist”) or the sort of YOU NEED TO BE AWARE OF THIS PROBLEM guilt-making so prevalent in similar ads. It’s a socially conscious advertisement from a once-McDonald’s-owned corporation that doesn’t beat you over the head, but let’s you figure out for yourself a) how to feel and b) what to do. Could be nothing! At least you saw a cool stop-motion video with music by Willie Nelson.

As noted by James Poniewozik in a great TIME article,

“…it’s pretty remarkable to see such an eloquent-without-being-strident argument questioning the way our food system is set up being made, in prime time, by a big fast-food (or “fast casual”) company…I’m not sure I’ve ever seen a short film by any advocacy group that was as well-made, well-argued or emotionally on point.”

Google’s been doing it for a while now, but we can add Chipotle to the list of top-flight short-form storytellers doing something to entertain while making us question what’s going on around us. And maybe stop fast-forwarding through our pre-recorded TV shows?

Hahaha come on.

Google Refuses to Stop Making Great Videos

September 7, 2011

Queen’s frontman Freddie Mercury would have been 65 on Monday, and to celebrate GOOGLE tossed off (I say “tossed off” because this was probably completed by one of their high-functioning “synthetic emotions” algorithms) a typically amazing, energetic and poignant video set to the group’s “Don’t Stop Me Now.”

Who even thinks about Queen, or Freddie Mercury, that much these days? They’re like the music version of the movie Dave — you forget how great they are until one of their songs pops up on your iPod, and then it’s all you can listen to for days. Then you forget again.

But like a glasses-wearing elephant, GOOGLE DOESN’T FORGET. At this point the company is putting up Pixar numbers with these consistently perfect ads. So long as they never double-dip — say revisit the “American in Paris” commercial, only this time with more of the redneck sidekick — I can see this streak continuing in perpetuity. Great work, guys!

A Momentary Break from Stupid Internet Crap

May 6, 2011

Last year GOOGLE interrupted a perfectly dry-eyed Super Bowl to air a heart-rending commercial about boundless Franco-American love, and in the process made me cry (Editor’s note: JK!). This Tuesday, stuffed into an episode of Glee, they released a new commercial that makes their former triumph look like Nazi propaganda.

There is almost nothing I can write here that Thought Catalog hasn’t already explored with more eloquence and understanding, but it bears (refocused) repeating:

The Internet, these days essentially a semi-anonymous microcosm of the larger physical world, can be a nasty place that seems infinite in its capacity for snark, artifice, and general bullshit. It’s like a horribly backwards Wild West, populated entirely by saloon owners and snake-oil salesman (and showgirls — PORN) with few lawmen around to keep the peace. The Dark Knight Rises costuming rumors and Perez Hilton doodles run wild in the town square, unchecked.

But every so often, a determined cowboy rides into town to redress this imbalance; to set things back on the side of the consequential, and good. Whether it’s Dan Savage and the “It Gets Better” campaign or Arab Spring social mobilization or something else, it’s a powerful reminder that in the best hands, this stupid network of chattering computers might actually do something to change the world.

“There’s art to be made…there are songs to be sung.”

I know I’m re-appropriating that message for an entirely different end, but it remains too true regardless.

In conclusion: let’s all make a pact right now to not let things like Charlie Sheen or Rebecca Black happen ever again. On 3…2…

Are You Ready For Some [Kleenex]?

February 8, 2010

Come on. I spend two hours reminding myself how I should hate my girlfriend, buy moderately priced new cars to reassert my masculinity, and check out GoDaddy! for HOTTT Web-only videos…only to be utterly emotions-slapped by a GOOGLE commercial all about finding love in a foreign land. (And not aborting the baby — Tebow approves!) You made me cry, and now I’ve got to drink twice as much Budweiser Golden Wheat just to break even on the man scale. And probably buy stock in Doritos, too. I hate Doritos!

Your striking, poignant storytelling? It’s killing me. Fuck you, Don Draper.


PS – Those Volkswagen and Late Show ads you did were also pretty good. Grizzly Bear is totally this year’s Phoenix!

Best Weekend Ever!

June 8, 2009

We adults have plenty to worry about. The economy, for one (this will never go out of style). Subway routes. Which interlocking media cabinet we’re buying from IKEA (the Flurfpurdst or the Smeltds-hun?). So many things. But if we paid attention even a little bit to the world outside our adult orbit, we’d see that right now… is actually a time of unbridled ecstasy. The signs are everywhere if you look hard enough: limos where there shouldn’t be limos; salons overbooked on Friday afternoons; empty classrooms; parents’ depleted wallets. Let’s not forget those beach town motel owners waking up this morning to vomit-stained carpets and condom surprises. (My bad!) Yes, it’s that time of year again, baby. It’s prom season.

Is anyone’s prom really like this? I mean, I get they’re rarely held in pastel-colored ghost towns and that most frown upon driving yourself, but prom to me has always been a New Year’s caliber event: rarely as good as you imagine it to be. Who can hit the Saturn Ion standard? Though a good buffet and clever shot glass door prize can more than make up for a dearth of longing gazes…

Happy Prom, seniors!