Sharp new campaign for Arrow Electronics hits the bull’s eye with “Five Years Out.”

April 11, 2013

“Five Years Out” is the mantra for Arrow Electronics, a distributer-provider of technology solutions. Honestly, I’d never heard of the company until seeing these fun and ambitious films from Ogilvy in Chicago. Surprising my ignorance, given I’ve been specializing in technology clients for going on ten years. In some ways that makes the campaign that much more inviting. I’m being introduced to something.

I dig the mantra. “Five Years Out” is simultaneously hyperbolic and realistic. No easy feat for advertising. The conceit that there’s a special club for innovators, which can be accessed by others with a desire to participate or behold them is genius. Of course Thomas Edison and the Wright Brothers are there. But so are the inventors of air conditioning and the three-pronged outlet.

A benevolent, ghost-like host informs his wide-eyed guests (and us) that while we “won’t know most of them” they are all part of a “calling.” He then proceeds to explain innovation in a simple yet soulful way that makes modern miracles seem both amazing and feasible.

As I wrote before, talking about technology in such humanly relevant terms is no easy feat. Most tech companies and their agencies get mired in jargon, trying to describe the science instead of delighting in it. The copywriters have really done their jobs.

In particular the writing shines in the shorter spot. A young man marvels at Edison: “You came up with the light bulb. That’s the symbol for coming up with ideas!” He then asks him how he came up with it. Edison replies: “It was dark.”

Simple. Funny. Charming.

The production company, Tool deserves ample praise for delivering film with gravitas. I was reminded of Kubrick’s haunting depiction of the Overlook Hotel (The Shining), during those lushly romantic flash back scenes. Nostalgic but fresh. Timeless.

Finally, what a joy it is to see storytelling again. Especially for a tech company! I’m so weary of bearing manifestos and mission statements. Aren’t you? Lord knows, I’ve written my share. How refreshing to see something different! Proof of life for the old school. I’d never heard of Arrow Electronics before. Now I adore them.


7 Responses to “Sharp new campaign for Arrow Electronics hits the bull’s eye with “Five Years Out.””

  1. Joe Sciarrotta said

    Steffan – Thanks for the praise. FYI – Joe Pytka was the Director.

  2. seeinginpurple said

    Reblogged this on Seeing In Purple and commented:
    I was in the ad campaign for Arrow Electronics. Cool stuff from talented storytellers.

  3. Kevin said

    five years out, doesn’t make sense to anybody english. Sounds very negative, five years out of touch, out of the market or out of date maybe.

  4. Sue Warner said

    I would love to view the ad with the masters. Is it available anywhere? I live in Australia.

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