Monday, June 4, 2018

The Medium is the Mess

Years ago, while permalancing at Chiat/Day  -- by the way, there's nothing better than permalancing -- my partner, Jerry Gentile and I were summoned to the Disney/Pixar compound in Glendale.

Even for someone as jaded as me, that's cause for excitement. It's better than a trip to the 99 cent shopping center in Pico Rivera.

Once past the heavily-guarded gate, we were given the nickel tour of the campus. As you can imagine, all your favorite Disney/Pixar characters were there: Woody, Buzz, Nemo, Milan, and a bunch of others I could name if one of my daughters were around to remind me.

There were also all the obligatories you'd expect from a place of employ that dared to call itself a campus: ping pong tables, pinball machines, jelly bean dispensers and brightly painted golf carts. All part of the kiddification of America's work sites.

After touring the grotesque architecture, we met the execs, all seemingly wearing button down shirts festooned with Pixar character on the pocket. They had been in discussion with the executives from Energizer (our client) and decided it would be cool, and apparently worthwhile, to do a commercial featuring their characters from the movie Cars alongside ours -- the Bunny.

To what end, I didn't have a clue.
And with what resources? Again I was clueless.
Because this all took place 6 months before the movie's release and in accordance with Pixar protocol they would not release any footage to us. Nor any idea of what was in the script.

In other words,

"Do something fun and maybe even funny with the Energizer Bunny and the main character from Cars. Tiffany will take you in the PlutoMobile golf cart back to the parking lot. Thanks."

I have no idea how we solved this Gordian Knot. Moreover, nor does the moviegoing public. Whatever we did was long forgotten. Or more accurately, ignored. Which is really the point of this longwinded story.

Because with summer upon us I'm seeing more and more of these worthless co-branded movie promotions:

Mission Impossible/Burger King

Deadpool 2/Liquid Plumber

Superfly/Hellman's Mayonnaise

I'll say what no one in any of those countless meetings between lower level studio execs and agency sycophants sniffing an opportunity to earn revenue for their holding company overlords, are willing to say,

"It's a fucking monumental waste of money."

There isn't a soul on the planet who comes away from viewing one of these celluloid abortions and thinks to him or herself, "Jurassic World Fallen Kingdom looks like a great movie but first I should make a trip to my nearest Hyundai Dealership and check out the new 7 passenger Santa Fe."

Not a one.


Addendum: I did get to direct Owen Wilson, the star of Cars, in a voiceover session. And was pleased to discover his nose is significantly larger than mine.

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