Giving Some Credit to a Great Ad
Recently, you may have noticed something different with the adverts you see. Ads have been getting shorter. This was solidified in January of last year, when YouTube creators and creative agencies teamed up to create the best six-second ads for Sundance Film Festival 2017. Google tested TBWA LA, JWT NY, Grey NY, Energy BBDO, Hecho en 72 LA, The Richards Group, Ogilvy London, BBH London, 72andSunny Sydney, BBH Shanghai, Ogilvy India and Publicis New York to "unlock new forms of storytelling" with the six-second time constraint.
Although this was a clear attempt to challenge agencies to better fit YouTube's advertising platform, a trend has been ever more evident. Probably a response to ever-growing concern over the relevance of traditional advertising, brands are now focusing a lot of their time and money on online advertising activity. More and more, we're seeing branded content on social media only lasting a few seconds. The rise of Snapchat as a popular form of social media as also seen it be taken up by brands, meaning that a ten-second limit is something they need to tend to.
The team over at Hecho en 72 clearly didn't get the message, and the outcome is brilliant.
It's six minutes long and definitely worth a watch, check it out:
The Hammer Museum at UCLA this advert for their new exhibition called Stories of Almost Everyone. The advert essentially acknowledges that abstract and conceptual art can be somewhat unapproachable to some people, a little difficult to grasp. How the Hammer Museum decided to approach this was by getting Will Ferrell and Joel McHale to get a tour from curator Aram Moshayedi.
The pair are unashamedly baffled by the exhibition. In the first half of the ad, they're shown around the exhibition rooms and shown objects such as pillows which have only been slept on by acrobats and worn trainers. We also see clips of the pair after they've been shown around the exhibition, where they've given the opportunity to speak more earnestly about their experience and give a more 'honest' opinion about what they were shown. They don't pretend to be fully committed to the art, but still finish it off with welcoming messages, such as, "I appreciate the effort" and "I know a lot of people who'd be like 'I don't know if this is art'. It's definitely art. I would say. I think," and "staring at them for a long time with other people kind of makes it art."
The video was directed by Eric Hirshberg, CEO over at Activision. Ferrell, McHale and Hirshberg are all contributors to the museum, all of which had offered their time and talent for free, which is assumably how such star power on a conceptual art exhibit advert.
It just brings back memories of when my mum used to drag me around the Saatchi Gallery as a child, and how I'd ask her why she had spent ten minutes staring at an oversized plain looking vase in a translucent glass case in the middle of an empty room.
Perhaps the advert was just meant to be fun by poking fun at itself, but does this advert work beyond just being fun? Is this self-referential style of humour more effective at getting people out to exhibitions such as this one?
It can be very hard to go into a space like that and not know how to interpret anything. I was fortunate enough to be conditioned as a child to understand art, but I also sympathise with those who haven't. I suppose it can be seen as quite nice of the Hammer Museum to be like, 'we get it, it's weird, it's okay to come in and make fun of it if you want and you don't have to understand everything'.
Touching on this point, Adweek reports:
"Museums are often pretty humorless [sic] when it comes to their artwork. It’s rare for them to acknowledge that art can be confusing—particularly conceptual art, where the artist’s choices can seem self-indulgent or bafflingly arbitrary.
But the Hammer Museum at UCLA leans into that confusion in an amusing new short film made by some A-list talent in front of, and behind, the camera.
A pair of socks thrown on the ground? A handful of giant telephone poles lying across the gallery room? The museum’s actual mail, unopened and thrown in a corner? Ferrell and McHale try to make sense of these oddities, and more, in what turns out to be an engagingly counter-intuitive way to get more people to visit and see the show."
I also believe that the length of it is what makes this advert. There was time to get into and showcase a lot of the exhibits that were there. The best moments were those little clips where we observe Will Farrell and Joel McHale stare at the art, and make fun of it. One case was where you see Will laughing in the background as Joel asks how long one installation had taken, and we see a similar moment with the piano exhibit.
After seeing the ad, I want to go see the exhibition for myself. It's a shame that I won't be visiting Los Angeles any time soon. The video was produced by Hecho en 72, which is the production arm of 72andSunny based in LA.