As part of the wonderful stupor of being a new dad I’ve ended up watching too much daytime TV. And as a result seeing too many daytime TV ads.
I have learned much.
National Geographic have whored themselves out to co-brand some air fresheners. Bloody disgraceful.
There’s this horrific BUY ONE GET ONE FREE advert for windows – I can’t find the actual ad online. But Safestyle UK does have a bunch of promotional videos on their YouTube channel. And you can glimpse the ad at the start and end of this clip. It’s real brain-rape stuff that would shake you out of your deepest pastel-coloured ‘This Morning’ haze.
The fact that this company has a YouTube channel and a blog and all that stuff makes me feel really queer inside.
Here’s another ad that makes me feel like renouncing everything I believed in. It makes me want to tell everyone that integrated campaigns are a product of a sick and twisted satanic messenger.
I’m just bursting with a whole bunch of confessions about bread. What on earth are they expecting? If you’re dying to let your sandwich secrets out, head to kingsmillconfessions.com. Actually, you know that bit in American Pie, how about a ‘British Butty’ remake?
Oh and there’s a Dettol ad that makes you believe that you ought to spray every surface in your house with chemicals or you and your children will die of flu within 48 hours. Thankfully that doesn’t seem to exist on the Internet.
Strangely I was rescued by a McDonald’s ad. Jesus, things must be low, or I’ve tired myself into full-scale brain damage. Seriously though, I actually really like these ads. I love the fact they’ve got proper writing in them. The voiceover is nice. The music works. The observations are sweet. And it feels appropriate, yet different enough.
And thankfully I don’t have to visit the ‘passing-by-o-matic’ to upload my buttocks onto a McDonald’s chair and become poem-a-lized.
On Saturday evenings at roundabout 6pm on BBC is my favourite new TV show. It’s called Walk on the Wild Side. The premise is very very simple. It’s people doing funny voiceovers on top of lovely nature footage.
It’s the shorter simpler ones that work best for me I feel like some of the longer, more involved ones just unravel a bit sometimes.
Perhaps I love it because it reminds me of Animal Magic from my childhood:
Or maybe I love it because it’s just bloody brilliant.
Aside from “Alan” the other sketch that has me in stitches are the scratching badgers (if you’ve not seen it that will mean nothing).
Last year I blogged about the idea of doing something a bit similar. But this lovely chap took a different (much better and more realistic) approach, and made something that really works. It’s been compared to the awesome Kutiman Thru-You stuff. But it is very different. People have sent these pieces in to be a part of something collaborative. And it puts you in control in a lovely lo-fi way.
There’s lots that us try-hard webby / advertising folk can learn from these young ladies about how to ‘do’ social networks and audience engagement.
I hate myself for even writing about this stuff in ‘those’ terms. The words ‘audience engagement’ give me a strange bile-y sensation in the back of my throat. In both of these cases I’d chow down on a family bucket of Kentucky Fried Hat if someone had set out with a cyncial objective of how to engage audiences. What makes this stuff good is that you can tell this is what they enjoy doing. It’s what they love. You get the sense they’d be doing it whether they were flogging 10 records or 10 million records.
And that’s the stuff you can’t fake. Well not without expensive directors and decent actors and catering trucks and heavy editing.
Both of them have amazing videos on YouTube. They both feel totally natural. They don’t give a hoot that their clips aren’t 100% perfect. And they feel like we’ve been given a real window into their musical world. Their videos have got music and talent at the core, but the edges are the bits that give you personality, quirkiness and ultimately likability.
I’ll start with Little Boots, because she’s got a Tenori-On and can play it better than anyone else I’ve ever seen, check this Hot Chip cover, make sure you wait for the vocals to start.
It feels so accessible (like she’s used the same kind of camera, computer and mic that lots of us have) yet the talent and quality shine through.
She takes suggestions for her Funtime cover versions via MySpace (or YouTube). And manages to go far and wide with what she delivers. Including her take on Happy Hardcore anthem ‘Heart of Gold’…
I’m also a big fan of the fact that she uses the supporting YouTube text really well. So many people hardly even bother. And it makes a difference. It properly helps to cement the whole story and rams it home that this isn’t a YouTube channel that’s being looked after by a label-monkey. For example:
this is a song i’d long forgotten about till recently… i’ve been getting back to my blackpool roots a bit lately, spent much of my teen years listening to bonkers compilations 1 through 5 so here is a classic… heart of gold… such a sad song when you think about it!!! i’m not sure how well know it is to the rest of the world but anyways…. sorry the tenorion isn’t loud enough but didn’t wanna wake my housemates up! my fav bit is where it rhymes ‘just’ with ‘justify’ in the same line. genius.
Enough Little Boots hype. On to Imogen Heap. Her vBlog as she calls it, is totally different. She rambles on and on and on and comes across as totally loopy most of the time. But through all the insanity you can’t help but smell brilliance and a sincere passion for the music and what she does.
I’ve got a feeling she’s the kind of person who might annoy some people with her slightly dithery-middle-class-niceness. But I find it quite charming, in 10 minute chunks at least.
What I especially like about is that she’s been leaking out bits and bobs of her new album. But it’s literally playing fragments of songs as they’re in development (when you get to about 3 mins in you’ll see what I mean), so there’s no way that pirates can rip it off, but it gets the work out there in a really nice way. And from looking at all the comments you can see how much anticipation the clips are managing to build.
Keep it real – be yourself. There is no template for this stuff so don’t try and create the thing that you’re ‘supposed to do’ on YouTube.
Get the audience involved in what you’re doing
Imperfection is OK (actually much better than OK, it’s good, it’s human, it’s real)
Use all the tools out there – and use them with each other, use them for things they’re good at
Give away free stuff when you ask people to sign up for something
All things we’ve all heard before. But nice to see a couple of decent ‘case studies’ out there. Yuk. There goes the bile-y taste again. They’re not bloody case studies, they’re people doing awesome stuff. Well done ladies. Sorry for tainting your good names with marketing gobshite.