Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Help I'm over-stimulated

If there is one piece of advice I could give advertisers targeting my generation (Generation Y or Generation Z, depending on your definition), it would be this:
Keep it simple.
Honestly. Just cut the crap. Generation Y/Zers have grown up on the internet. We have been bombarded with flashy visuals, tricky marketing tactics and persuasive lingo since before we could even use a toilet. The result? Overstimulization and de-sensitization. There is a limit to “bigger and better”, and I believe my generation has reached a plateau where the hype is no longer impressive.  
This is precisely why one pharmecutial company, help®, is trying out a new marketing approach, calling itself “a drug company that promises you less.”
help® produces over-the-counter medications without the artificial dyes, extra ingredients and confusing names. It employs minimalistic marketing techniques from its website layout to advertisements to product packaging. Product labels include “help I have a headache”, “help I can’t sleep” and “help I have a blister” – simple, straightforward names that tell you exactly what the drug does. 
A new ad for help®’s  “Take Less” campaign really embodies this marketing approach by employing visually simplistic techniques such as stop-motion animation, primary colors, and limited limited dialogue. 
Personally, I think help®’s advertising strategy is refreshing and appealing and believe other companies would be wise to follow suit. 

Wednesday, November 9, 2011

Sony Gets Romantic (in 3-D!)

Watch the full ad here

Sony just spent almost a year making a commercial to advertise its 3-D televisions. “Two Worlds” features a man and a woman who, after spotting each other across a busy street, walk through exploding plate glass windows to fall into each others arms.
The short clip is an attempt by Sony to “showcase 3-D in a way that [doesn’t] involve flying cars or cowboys coming out of the screen,” Nils Leonard, executive director at Grey London, said. Grey London is the UK-based advertising agency Sony hired to take charge of the project. The idea was to create an advertisement with romantic, emotional appeal, unlike most 3-D TV ads.  
Did I mention this spot also features books flying violently off shelves and and desks propelling into the air as the couple walks toward each other? Or that the cars parked on the street levitate upwards as a romantic poem is voiced-over? 
Practically spells romance.
Although production company Spy Films deserves some hat-tipping for the technical quality of this spot, I have to question the thought process behind the clip’s premise. It’s great that Sony and Grey want to target a more tender, dare I say female, audience with this approach, but tell me when in The Notebook it would be appropriate to insert exploding desks and books?
3-D pretty much works for one genre: Action. So unless there is a way for Ryan Gosling’s body to literally come out of the television, bring on the cars and cowboys. 

Tuesday, November 8, 2011

Tech Wars

The first Star Wars movie came out in 1977.  34 years later, we are amidst a real-life technology-driven war that despite having no clear good vs. evil, has some uncanny resemblances to Lucas’ famous films.  In the battle of smart phones and tablets, it’s Apple vs. everyone else, which brings me to my first comparison: the use of an Android army.

Motorola and Samsung are just two of the companies using Android-powered smart phones to compete with Apple’s iPhone.  In the world of tablets, the new Android-powered Kindle Fire has been has been hailed the first true competitor of the iPad.  There seems to be a common theme of Andriod devices: they’re black.  Now what color do you typically associate with Apple?  This black vs. white dichotomy has been a metaphor for good vs. evil in countless stories.  Yes, including Star Wars.

 A final similarity between today’s technology wars and the Star Wars saga happened earlier this Fall: the death of a leader.  The simple clothing, white beard, and thinning hair are characteristics of both Jedi-leader Obi-Wan Kenobi and Apple-leader Steve Jobs.  However, the physical similarities go beyond physical appearance.  And like Obi-Wan, I expect Jobs’ impact to transcend death as his innovations and philosphies continue to guide Apple.
When you’re looking to purchase your next (or first) smart phone or tablet, may the force be with you!

Thursday, November 3, 2011

Part 16 of PML’s: How does a Voice Talent Prepare for a Session?

We asked some of our top 100 voice talents to find out how they get ready for a voice session. Here is what Ben B. says...

When I receive copy, the first thing I do is read it to myself in silence.  Then I read it at a whisper, followed by reading it in a soft voice using my interpretation.  Once I've completed these steps, I know I'm ready to attack the copy/script at full force.  Most of the work I do for Propulsion Media Labs is Retail Automotive, and most of that is "hard sell".  So, I give my best at full strength.  I also need to check for words ( names, dealership names, etc.) that I'm not sure how to pronounce.  If need be, I contact Pro Media and ask the writer for assistance on those words.  This prevents the producer from having to send the Voice Over back to me for revisions.  

Also, don't forget that your routines are just as important...Like my cup of coffee or room temperature water for my voice...occasionally some sweet tea (since I am from the South).

More responses from other talents are coming soon!