Final Major Project: Preview Research

I decided that for the preview element of my Final Major Project portfolio I would create a promo video for the device in my film – Cygnet. For my research I looked into three different commercial type videos – Adman, Black Mirror’s ‘Ashley Too’ commerical and a Sensodyne toothpaste advert.

I was initially inspired by Adman, a short film made entirely from fake adverts.

I think adverts are quite a compelling way to tell a story as in essence it’s kind of like many short films within a film. Adman cleverly uses a series of different fake adverts to reveal a love story of a couple. A lot of the ads are for different things completely unrelated to eachother but use this couple to not only promote a product or service but piece together a story one ad at a time. Each ad in this short film is only around a minute long and we also see some ads for the same product but will a slightly different storyline. It’s very well made in terms of production and the adverts are scripted, filmed and edited in a very convincing way.

The film uses adverts to drive a narrative and uses many story elements to do this (conflict, resolution etc). It’s also being uses for entertainment purposes, using this story of adverts to delight audiences. The film’s main tone is humorous and quirky, using humour and bizzare situations in order to be comedic. We also see within the different adverts, that some of them vary in tone from one another, some are dramatic and others are fun and playful. I think this adds to the satire element of the film as it is showing different extremes of adverts that contrast eachother for humour.

I then looked into Black Mirror’s ‘Ashley Too’ doll commercial.

Here Black Mirror is promoting one of their episodes by creating a commercial for the device used in the episode. Using a commercial in this way is very clever as by just watching this commercial, it gives the viewer a idea on what the episode is about and introduces the pivotal device in the episode. However this still leaves an element of ambiguity as we don’t see the other side to the device and a common trope of Black Mirror’s is revealing how new technology can become dangerous or harmful for society. Therefore a familiar Black Mirror viewer will recognise this and be curious as to how the device will eventually be portrayed. I also wanted to analyse this commerical further as creating a commercial for a device in order to promote a film is something I also plan on doing.

Here is a transcript of the commercial:

Voiceover: Now you can be best friends with your favorite popstar! 

Girl: Ashley wake up! 

Ashley: Hey there, I’m Ashley Too

Voiceover: An all new intelligent companion based on best-selling artist Ashley O’s personality! 

Ashley Too holds meaningful conversations 

Ashley: Hey Rachel, wanna talk about boys? 

Voiceover: Ashley Too gives makeover tips!

Ashley: Now… pout a little. 

You’re gonna look like a star! 

Voiceover: Pair Ashley Too with your phone or tablet to learn dance moves! 

Ashley: Ugh! You’re the best!

Voiceover: It’s just like having Ashley O right there in your room! 

Ashley: And now there’s one of me for me, 

Ashley Too: ..and one of me for you. Ashley Too. 

Voiceover: Available now from all good retailers. 

Ashley Too may perpetuate loneliness. Not to be used as an authentic companion. USB Charger not included. 

So in terms of direction, the Ashley Too commercial is being used to drive action for viewers to watch the Black mirror episode, it uses celebrity endorsement and is entertaining in inspiring an audience. The tone of the commercial is fun/playful, using anthropomorphism to personify the device. It is also conversational, it’s quite casual and authentic as you see a lot of colloquial talk and slang. It is only just under a minute long, which is a good duration for a commercial like this as it’s short and straight to the point to leave the audience wanting more. The video style is a kind of live action, mixing real life and visual special effects for the text – this could be used to portray an almost ‘other world’ that the audience can immerse themselves in.

I also looked at a Sensodyne toothpaste commercial.

Here we see a dentist explaining the reason for why a lot of people’s teeth are sensitive, a seemingly common issue and using offering a solution through using Sensodyne toothpaste. It starts off with the concern of the consumer and the true purpose of the video is only revealed towards the end, which covertly promotes the toothpaste. It’s a very clean and clinical promo video, which are connotations of the industry they are in which is health. It’s shot in a dentist room, which is the natural enviroment for a dentist and is appropriate for the subject they are discussing. This also is a familiar enviroment for the viewer as they would be used to hearing about their dental health in that kind of enviroment.

The two main goals of this video is to educate customers and drive sales of the toothpaste. It’s using a problem/solution direction, showing the problem of sensitivity and Sensodyne toothpaste as a solution. It’s also informative through the use of endorsement, by using someone such as a dentist for credibility and expertise. The tone is straightforward and informative, a simple description of the issue and the way in which the product they’re selling is beneficial. The duration is only 30 seconds, which is a good duration for a short promotional video like this as anything longer or intensively descriptive could bore a viewer. The video style is using real people with a mixture of an on-screen graphics to show a diagram.

Looking at these different types of commercial adverts and promotional videos, there are a lot of elements from each that I would like to factor into making my commercial promo video. Adman uses very stereotypical tropes of adverts that can be easily identified. I want to use identifiable conventions of a commercial for my audience to recognise the mode of video it is. The Ashley Too commercial is about a pivotal device for an episode and this commercial is being used to promote the Black Mirror episode it features in. It’s a very unique way to market an episode and this was an idea I also had, to use my device Cygnet in a false commercial video to promote my fiction film. Seeing how Black Mirror told this commercial in just under a minute shows that actually my own video doesn’t need to be very long in order to get my points across and having a concise video is more likely to engage an audience. The sensodyne advert is the only one that was factual and informative, this is something I would like my own video to be and I want to also show this clean and clinical setting in order to combine fiction and realism. I think using a subject that seems educated on the subject adds credibility and perhaps this is something I will consider for my actor to come across as knowledgable and genuine.

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