Literally Awesome

It’s an ad for Philips that apparently plays in a non-stop loop somewhere on their website.

It’s by Tribal DDB, the director was Adam Berg and the CD was Neil Dawson.


A commenter has suggested that it’s merely an extension of this Sky HD ad:

I know I didn’t really elaborate on my reasons for liking the Philips film, but it’s not entirely because of the technique.

However, a comparison between these two ostensibly similar commercials allows us to examine a few aspects of what makes one ad more engaging than another.

Of course, the technique is superior in the Philips ad. It’s a single shot that moves through an increasingly unfolding narrative that repays attention and further viewings, whereas the Sky ad is a single scene. So we’re not just talking about extra time here; we’re talking about a development of the craft that exploits it more fully and allows us to see it really breathe.

But beyond the technical aspects, the Philips ad also does a great job of the scenarios. If we assume that the original script was a somewhat elaborated version of ‘gang of criminals dressed as clowns battle police in a hospital’, it’s really impressive that every individual vignette (the clown kicking the cop through the window; the wheelchair reacting to the explosion; the man on the floor etc.) all contain a brilliantly contained mini story of their own. It’s very difficult to get one good, well-executed, believably-rendered story into an ad, but to get several is quite an achievement.

Next is the tone. LIke the ad about the transvestite that won Philips a few awards last year, this brings a grown-up edge to a massive corporation. With these scene of mayhem and murder, they are treating us like adults, not running towards a scene of anodyne dullness that would have demonstrated the technique equally well. Thank you, Philips. I like you a bit more for that.

Last, the details. From the location, to the masks, to the cops, to the guns, to the score it all rings true within its context. It brings to mind something from The Dark Knight without looking like they’ve simply ripped off last year’s big thing. Again, that’s a lot of things they got right that they could have got wrong, and that’s a hell of a lot harder than they made it look.

On a personal note, I also like the fact that it doesn’t have that ‘ad’ bit puncturing all the good work. When the guy walks in at the end of the Sky ad, I can’t help feeling like the magic disappears slightly. Don’t get me wrong; I like the Sky ad too, but the Philips clowns played it to the hilt, and in this day and age, that’s something to be admired.