Tuesday, May 7, 2013

Commercial Music

With the 2013 Clio Awards taking place this month (May 15 in N.Y.C.), I've been thinking about some of my favorite commercials. In today's DVR world, most American television viewers (and I suspect most TV viewers around the world) tend to fast-forward ("skip") through the commercials while watching their favorite programs. However, I actually enjoy commercials and am keen to find the next spot that will make me laugh, cry, or scour the Internet looking for the song used in the campaign.

Some of my favorite campaigns over the years have come from Publix SupermarketsHeineken, Subaru, and Apple.

What appeals to me in finding those next great commercials is the writing. As a writer myself, I am acutely aware of the creativity involved in being able to tell a story in a 60-second or 30-second spot – one that not only is memorable, but a story in which the viewers are able to identify with the people or situation. And the advertiser hopes you would, in turn, want to purchase their product. It's astonishing how much of a story can be told in so little time.

Of course, we all know that these great stories must be filmed and edited, and that's where the talented readers of Markee 2.0 Magazine come in, right? With our "Making Commercials" articles, we highlight the talent and creativity involved in making some of television's best spots.

The music and sound found in television commercials also can draw a great deal of attention. Think of the early iPod campaigns or the Nike ad from 1987 when "Revolution" became the first Beatles track to be featured in a spot. Just as in film, music can play a key role in making a commercial memorable.

Throughout its history, Gap Inc., has strived to make its commercials memorable through music, from Madonna and Daft Punk to The Avett Brothers and now, Ki:Theory. As Markee contributor Michael Fickes described in a recent article ("What Color is the Music?"), "Few brands have a commercial footprint as recognizable as The Gap. Gap commercials are recognizable after a few frames of white scrim and a few bars of music." Indeed. Have you seen the ad Fickes describes? The image below from the commercial links to the full ad on YouTube.