Monday, December 6, 2021

Fare un Cinema (Make a Movie)


By now you have probably seen Apple's new, Christmas commercial. I have no problem saying Christmas, Merry Christmas or Joyful Christmas. That shit is simply a wedge used by the GOP to split us. I'll have none of that.

Just as the John Lewis commercials are a Christmas staple in Britain, the annual Apple spots are a treasure here on this side of the pond.

There are a few things I love about this spot, which you can see in its entirety here

The fact that the commercial was shot on an iPhone is certainly noteworthy. And impressive. Made slightly less impressive when I discovered the spot was not made by a pre-teenage girl, as I had assumed. But by Jason Reitman, son of Ivan Reitman, and director of such films like Thank You For Smoking and Juno.

Small aside, my partner John Shirley & I, met with Jason when he was a kid and wanted to direct one of our spots. If memory serves, he even sat in our cubicle (after Chuck & Clay went on to become directors themselves)...

...I can't remember what the project was, or why we didn't hire him, I suspect it had something to do with his youth, which John & I had already started to resent. Not to mention his robust hairline, which I shamelessly envied.

If you indulge yourself in the full three minute viewing, I think you'll agree it comes off like a small movie. Many clients talk about "engagement" or "brand loyalty", but few companies have actually achieved that feat, like Apple. 

Note to Fortune 500 companies: Tagging shit with smiley emojis does not engagement make.

But what I love most about the spot, even in its condensed 60-second form is the "smallness." 

Is it contrived that a 10 year old girl would fall deeply in love with her snowman, Simon? Maybe. I have two daughters and for the longest time my youngest made a large cardboard box her personal castle. There is photographic evidence of this phenomena, but I did not get her permission to publish the pic.

Nevertheless, if you allow yourself to go for the ride, you quickly get caught up in her efforts to save Simon. It required her imagination, perseverance and commitment to make it to the next winter. In other words, it revealed her (Olive's) character. And it did so without special effects or grandiose trickery. It was small.

As noted on these pages many times, I'm a believer in small with regards to story. In light of all the insipid superhero movies that take up our movie screens, that makes me a contrarian. Shocker.

I also admire the shocking twist at the end of Olive's journey, which Jason takes and turns it on its head in a most satisfying way. And again, kudos to Apple for going that route. 

I know from experience that 100 out of 100 past clients would have rejected that outright. Perhaps that what makes Apple, Apple. 

And everyone else Not Apple.

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