Saturday, July 07, 2007

Kanner's 100 - Ridley Scott

I've always enjoyed watching TV and it just so happens to be one of my favorite hobbies. I enjoy programs that range from the cerebral and enlightening (e.g. How It's Made, documentaries, 60 Minutes) to the distracting and entertaining (e.g. Reno! 911, Adult Swim, Simpsons).

Yet besides certain programs I also enjoy watching commercials. I see them as a canvas for creativity where in less than a minute one is trying to be convinced to buy a specific product or support a certain cause or candidate. Some of the most notable commercials are those that are able to grab attention in innovative ways via humor, shock, artistry, etc.

Hence, one of my favorite books is Bernice
Kanner's The 100 Best TV Commercials which was published nearly a decade ago. Unfortunately, Kanner passed away last October. Yet her New York Times obit had an excellent quote of hers regarding ads:

“It’s chic to say you’re immune to advertising, but it does invade our pores.”
Though I don't own a copy of the book, I've scoured all over YouTube during the little bits of spare time I had over the past few days. My aim was to try to find as many of the ads Kanner mentioned in the book. Despite not having eread the book since 2005 and working from memory I found nearly 40 of those ads which I will post on periodically.

This post will look at several ads by renown film director
Ridley Scott. The man behind films like Alien, Blade Runner, and Thelma & Louise has also directed several adverts. The most well-known commercial he directed was the "1984" ad for Apple Computers. It only ran once during the 1984 Super Bowl, but its stunning imagery and message of rebelling against dystopia remain etched in our collective memories. One never sees the product in the ad, but the commercial is unforgettable.

The 100 Best... also points out another famous ad directed by Scott though it is not famous here in the States. It's a 1973 commercial for England's Hovis bread. The commercial, in my opinion, is superior to "1984" in that one really feels transported back to 19th-century England. Sepia-colored tones and Dvorak's "New World Symphony" define the ad and one even gets the sense of smelling the freshly-baked bread. Kanner mentioned that legal constraints led to the creation of the very memorable slogan seen at the end of the commercial.

As an honorable mention not noted in the book, I'm including Scott's 1979 commercial for Chanel No.5. Again we see fantastic imagery and great background music from Vangelis, (of Chariots of Fire fame.)

Fabulous stuff, no?

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