Are Advertisements Becoming Their Own Legitimate Short Film Format?
Advertisements have come a long way in the past decade or so — even in the last 5 years. More and more content has gone from strictly showing off a brand, to actually telling a story and moving an audience. Since the internet attention span can be lower than any other medium, the video content that typically succeeds is short and to the point, and what format utilizes its time better than the commercial? Watching a Maiyet ad directed by Cary Fukunaga, I was reminded of all the great ads recently that have done more than sell a brand, they’ve moved you in a way that would seem impossible on the surface. Click through to check out some commercials that truly take the format in a different direction.
Some of you may be a bit cynical about the fact that many of these are from big corporations trying to sell products we may not want or even really need, but most of the filmmakers behind the ads are simply trying to tell a story, and I think they are more effective when viewed in that light. Some of these more closely match my personal taste, but there are plenty of others that tell just as legitimate stories — though I think there is something particularly cinematic about these:
Sleepwalking in the Rift a film directed by Cary Fukunaga for Maiyet:
These Levi’s “Go Forth” Ads don’t quite tell a story, but there is something epic about them that really stands out from other ads:
This one was also directed by Cary Fukunaga:
Chrysler Super Bowl Commercials:
Google Chrome: “Jess Time”
Dick’s Sporting Goods: “The Glove”
This is not even remotely close to a complete list in any way, so if you have any you want to add, feel free to do so below. There is a bit of an American bias in a few, but I think any of them could stand in for any other part of the world and they could still be as powerful. As advertising continues to grow to due online videos, there are going to be more and more ads vying for your attention, and one of the ways they’ll try to do that is by pulling a bit of a bait and switch by pretending to be something they’re not. That’s not to say they aren’t actually emotionally moving, but companies are making them to sell a product. Either way, I’m all for subliminally being sold a product or service over someone shoving something in my face.
We’ll see how the landscape changes, but I have a feeling that the boundaries between short films and advertisements will be blurred even more as funding sources dry up at the higher end because of fierce competition, and companies need more videos for the growing web advertising segment. One thing is clear, you can’t really make a living off short films, but there are all sorts of possibilities as far as short ads or commercials are concerned, and they may even be a better calling card for a feature film than any short you can make.
What do you guys think? While they definitely won’t replace short films, do you think we’ll see the format continue to change? What are some of your favorites that push the boundaries?