Coen Brother’s masterful TVC for Mercedes AMG demonstrates why quality film making still matters in advertising.
January 27, 2017
The high degree of craft demonstrated by the Coen Brothers is obvious in this new “film” for Mercedes AMG. The casting, wardrobe, acting, editing: it’s all first rate. Seeing Fonda at the end is wonderful – the cocky peace sign he flashes. Yet, everyone in the commercial shines, transcending the biker stereotype. You’ve got to love the two brutes getting stuck in the silver chains adorning their leathers. Or the grizzled biker chick wearing her lines like so many badges. Good stuff, which is what we’d expect from a Super Bowl commercial directed by the Coen Brothers.
Beyond the obvious, however, a thing I really dig (60’s verb intentional) about this film is how damn analog it is, on both sides of the camera. No smartphones. No CGI. Nobody’s tweeting. Instead we see a jukebox. Playing Steppenwolf. Dude holds up a cigarette lighter not an iPhone. Gloriously absent is all evidence of the modern world.
That is until we see the sleek new AMG roadster at the end.
Lots of commercials riff on previous decades but we can often sense the phoniness, kind of like viewing an off-Broadway production of Hair. Something about the cast or wardrobe gives it away. And we’re like: Oh, here’s a commercial making fun of the 60’s, 70’s or 80’s.
But not here. The righteousness of this commercial lifts it above mere advertising content. Rich in detail, fun to watch and just plain good the Coen Brothers remind us of why quality filmmaking still matters. Even in advertising. Especially in advertising.
Agency credit (and kudos) to Antoni, Germany and Merkley + Partners, USA
Final thoughts on the Super Bowl (the game, the glitz, the ads) and it’s importance, or lack thereof.
February 3, 2015
A victorious Tom Brady waves to the world…
The Super Bowl is over. Whether you got the outcome you wanted you have to admit it was a thrilling contest, about all one could ask for in a football game. So good, in fact, that in my opinion the game not only lived up to its ridiculous expectations but eclipsed the famous (and infamous) TV commercials, which have become a significant part of Super Bowl lore and, in many people’s minds, just as important.
I use the word “important” but, really, there is typically nothing important about a football game. Or a slew of advertising for that matter. If anything they are the antithesis of important. Like the half time extravaganza, they are but entertainment, albeit on a grand scale.
I use the word “typically” because every so often such entertainment is actually important. Such was Super Bowl XXXVI, which took place months after the terrible events of 9-11. There the New England Patriots (helmed by the newly anointed Tom Brady) beat the St. Louis Rams by a field goal. Like this year’s model, it was an exciting game going down to the wire. Brady would win his first MVP. Deeper down, however, it was cathartic to have a red, white and blue team victorious. America needed that.
The halftime show was also special, featuring U2, who gave what is widely regarded as the finest halftime show in Super Bowl history. In it, Bono and his mates, paid homage to all those who died in 9-11 depicting each and every one of their names on a massive screen as the band played a soulful version of one of their more spiritual ballads, MLK. They then closed with a rousing rendition of one of their biggest hits, Where The Streets Have No Name. The song is about Heaven. Often accused (sometimes rightfully) of wearing their hearts on their sleeves, never before was such a tone more appropriate.
No dancing sharks. No choreographed dancing. No wardrobe malfunction. Just music. Vulnerable yet confident, like our country.
That game and that show were important. Worth noting, however, was that none of the commercials were. I’m sure there were some good ones. We could look them up. But why? Who cares? With precious few exceptions, advertising is ephemeral. Redemption and beauty are not. Which is as it should be.
Like so many millions of us I enjoyed this Super Bowl. A lot. I smiled at Katy Perry and her confections. And yes, of course, I watched the TV commercials. Two days later I don’t care about any of it. Which, though advertisers wish it weren’t so, is also how it should be.