One thing I forgot from Monday’s post

The mood film ad (thanks, ALS):

I think that’s the worst example I’ve ever seen, and for such a lovely car, too.

In case anyone’s wondering why this fits with Monday’s rant about what’s wrong with advertising, mood film ads are a brilliant example of how lazy money grubbing produces awful advertising.

MFAs are easy to write because they are virtually interchangeable. They are usually produced because no one has bothered to think up a decent strategy, so someone suggests coming up with a bunch of a generic platitudes that make the client feel all warm and fuzzy about himself and his company. These are then cobbled together with a load of stock footage and shown as white-on-black captions that spread a little bit as they come onto the screen.

Voila! A 60-second frotter that plays to the basest conceits of the average client.

‘So this is a mood film we’ve put together to show where we feel the brand can go.’

‘It’s great. Love it. Nice job.’

‘So, with that in mind, here are the scripts for the ad.’

‘The what?’

‘The scripts. For the ad that we’ll write based on this strategic insight.’

‘But why can’t we just run this?’

‘It’s…it’s…(remember, you cannot say it is shit in any way) just made with generic stock footage. It’s not really individual enough to reflect precisely what you guys do. It can’t have the loving craft of a properly made ad.’

‘Looks fine to me. How much would it cost to run?’

‘Um…we can’t put an exact figure on it…’

‘How about a rough neighbourhood?’

‘Uh…30 grand, maybe, if we use that music.’

‘And a new ad would cost…?’

‘Well. we’ve budgeted it at around the 270k mark.’

‘And will it be nine times better than this?’

‘Well, it’s all relative…um…’

‘Look, Tarquin, just run the fucking mood film.’

So your valiant attempt at a client arselick ends up as a pile of shit with your agency’s name on it.

Sure, the produced ad probably wouldn’t be nine times better, but that’s partly because Tarquin and the client would conspire to make it shit.

Might as well run the mood film.

UPDATE: You might find something interesting in this article about a journalistic midlife crisis (thanks, B).