Thursday, October 8, 2009

"Didn't you notice it, Brick? Didn't you notice a powerful and obnoxious odor of mendacity."

I was just over at Creativity Online and saw a new monument to pomposity: a "Director's Cut" of a commercial.

I'm not saying the spot sucks, in fact, I'm not even going to comment on the spot. However, the idea of a director's cut of a commercial strikes me as absolutely ridiculous. Commercials don't exist without the imprimatur of the client. Their whole reason for being is to serve the needs, whims and caprices of a client. I'm sorry, but as far as end products go, directors don't get a vote.

It's different in film, because there's a paying audience that might actually pay to see a director's vision. But I can't imagine anyone outside of the sickeningly solipsistic fraternity of agency people caring a whit about the director's vision.

It's a commercial, for Crissakes.
Creativity Magazine is also culpable here. If we are ever to focus the industry on work that works, or at least work that actually runs, magazines must stop promoting the oh-so-cool fringes of our business. Maybe the reason magazines are dieing is that magazine editors kowtow to either sycophants or the lowest common denominator.


Teenie said...

That's what looking at directors' reels is like--"uncut" versions that show the director's true vision, and not the client's final OK. I agree--what good is a brilliant director if they can't dang well sell their idea to the client and only want a llittle flash for their portfolio?

george tannenbaum said...

It's different if it's for a director's reel. But to go "public" with it is asinine.

Teenie said...

I don't know--it always feels so fake when they put up a director's cut. It's not like a movie--it's still a project paid for by a client and used for commercial purposes. Which means the final cut is the proof in the pudding, and the director's cut shows a vision but not an ability to convince a client of that vision. I want to see what was actually done, not what the director would have done in a perfect world.

I agree, though--going public with it is ridiculous. The client had a certain message they wanted to give the public, and now that's been compromised.

Graham Strong said...

Lately I've shaken my head about a number of things similar to this, but when I think about it, I see something else at work behind the scenes.

For example, I did a blog post once about the Folger's vinyl manhole cover in NYC that looked like the top of a steaming cup of coffee. Of course it smelled like a sewer (wonder why?) and it lasted all of two hours, according to the report I read. At first, it seemed like a brilliant ad idea (to me) that was lost in execution. I wondered why a big ad agency wouldn't think this through and realize that joining Folger's coffee with sewer gas wasn't going to make a positive association.

But the thing was, it was photographed and reported in the news and blogged about for months, even years later. A two-hour ad campaign, talked about forever.

Which of course was the whole point in the first place...

Perhaps that is the whole point here too. I don't know the ad you are referring to George, so I couldn't speak intelligently about these particular circumstances. But maybe, even though the whole "Director's Cut" thing smells, it is more to generate future conversation than anything else.

And getting the media to talk about your client's product isn't usually a bad thing...