Wednesday, March 13, 2013

Nice job Pierre

Recently, I was showing a creative director a new set of commercials I had written. I thought they were quite good. But they were also a "no sale." The creative director felt the stories were too funny.

He sent me back to the drawing board with the direction to, "...make them less narrative, more observational. Take a look at the old Miller High Life campaign."

So I did.

And now I wish I hadn't.

I don't want to sound immodest. And I don't want to take anything away from the genii that gave birth to the Miller High Life Man. But damn, I was born to write that campaign. It was topical. It was biting. And it was, as my friend Claudia might describe it, muscular.

And it was true.

Take a look:

More than that, the creative team(s) that brought the High Life Man to life tapped into a rich vein that could sustain itself for years.

Now a client could look at a script and a shooting board for the mayonnaise commercial and say it's not very exciting. And the subject matter was seemingly inconsequential. But that's exactly where the artistry of the campaign lived. In the nooks and crannies. In the tiny unexplored spaces that we all take for granted.

I'm not sure that in the CGI-world we currently live in, where potential commercials are held up to examination by a panel of tuna-fish eating, half-wit, hobby-less, focus group groupies, anything of any similar substance could survive.

In fact, I'm sure they would not.

Anyway, I returned to the creative director a few days later, with newer, more observational scripts in hand. The verdict: once again, I was guilty of writing spots that were too funny.

When did too funny become a bad thing?

Maybe it's my fault. Maybe I've gotten too close to the work and maybe I'm not the best judge of the subject matter. If these blogs ever become too funny, and I doubt they ever will, I hope you'll have the good manners to tell me so.


Jeff said...

They're good spots, but too subtle. Can't we do something with the Miller graphic? Maybe have it swoosh out of the mayonnaise jar, spin around, flare and then settle center screen as the lid screws itself back on the jar? And maybe we could cut close up on the jar and it gives us a big smile, with a quick star-sparkle on one of the teeth. Or maybe it says, "MMMMmmm. Thanks Frenchies!" And the voice should be less blue collar and more Alec Baldwin. I don't know. More car crashes. Something.

Bob said...

I think Jeff Kling wrote (most of) those Miller High Life spots. Great writer. But you're pretty good, too. And you crack me up. (Obviously, you have to work on that.)