Friday, June 08, 2012

The technology always comes first: part 2

I'll be interested to watch Xbox Smart Glass develop.

Unveiled at E3 2012, it's, indeed, a pretty smart next iteration on multi screen interaction for gaming but i can also easily envisage some equally smart people picking up on this technology as a platform and doing something with it for any form of entertainment, and advertising of course...

Don't get hung up on the Microsoft guy's slightly hammy presentation.

Remember kids...The technology always comes first.

Then the creative people come along and make something with it.

Artists never invented oil paint, or the movie camera but they saw the opportunity the technology gave for creativity and messed with it.


Wednesday, June 06, 2012

empire state chicken burger

Andy Warhol’s influence on culture and of course advertising continues to be apparent.

There’s plenty written on this subject so I’m not going too far down that rabbit hole, but there’s two examples from the advertising world that I’ve noticed this week, one fairly explicit and other less so.

Firstly ‘Which Warhol’s Warhol’s’ is a challenge for guests staying at Melbourne’s Art Series hotels. The winner get’s to go home with a genuine $20,000 Andy Warhol print providing that they can pick the ‘real’ Warhol from one of the 10 ‘Warhols’ displayed in the hotels between May and August.

The other 9 are forgeries created by art forger Tony Tetro.

I love this idea.

Perhaps more than any other artist Warhol’s pieces are social objects – conversational in nature both from a subject point of view (what is or isn’t appropriate content for ‘art’ – death, disaster etc) And from an objective view point. His industrial methods of production and low-touch involvement in the production process itself.

‘Which Warhol’s Warhol’s’ plays to both of these conversational elements, and is inherently high in involvement and experience. It’s almost impossible to encounter the ‘campaign’ and not have something to say about it.

Art Series Hotel Group CEO Will Deague is also reported as saying that the other purpose of the intervention is to stimulate discussion and debate around the production of replica art and it’s impact on working artists.

This is a great example of creating a bit of culture first then advertising the idea.

As opposed to an advertising idea.

Which segues neatly into the next example.
The current advertising for ‘Hungry Jacks’, the Aussie Burger King.

But firstly some notes on one of Warhol’s most noteable journeys into the film medium.

Officially, the only way to see the Andy Warhol’s 1964 film Empire, an epic eight and a half hour stationary shot of the Empire State Building in New York is to borrow a copy from the MoMA.

It has never had any distribution on video or dvd, nor is it available online. Any screenings that happen are usually in museums or galleries.

The film itself has no script, and other than the Empire State Building itself, no characters (if one discounts the momentary flashes of Warhol and cinematographer Jonas Mekas as reflection in the window of the Time-Life building from which the film was shot) and, of course, no traditional narrative.

In effect the movie is more an academic exercise in the medium of film rather than anything that is meant to be ‘watched’ in the traditional sense.

The only narrative events are more like non-events - a twinkling light at the top of a nearby building marks the passing of time. According to Warhol, the point of this film is simply to ‘see time go by.’

Despite being a movie that few people have ever seen it’s one of Warhol’s most iconic works.

The Hungry Jack’s ‘Nothing naughty about it’ ad for its ‘chicken’ burger range has also certain Warholian characteristics. But is closer in nature to the Empire movie in it’s unintentional celebration of the banal.

The spot is based around it’s own non-event, a rock chick eats a chicken burger, turns into a ‘nice’ girl to the horror of here rock band mates.

The observation here is that, like the Warhol ‘forgeries’ this ad is an advertising forgery.

It’s a facsimile of advertising.
For all intents and purposes it has all of the appearance and stylistic attributes of advertising.
It looks and behaves like an ad.
It has a message of sorts.
A look and feel.
Some logos.
A notional ‘audience’.
A ‘gag’ of sorts (like a gag except not funny)

But it’s somehow empty.
A replica.
It’s not even trying to be an idea.
Devoid of any inspiration or insight - it's pure construct. It’s a pure excercise in the stylistic conventions of advertising without actually being advertising.

Warhols famously, and somewhat archly said ‘If you want to know all about Andy Warhol, just look at the surface of my paintings and films and me, there I am. There's nothing behind it'.

To that point the only thing more banal than the Hungry Jacks campaign is the commentary around it that arose yesterday on the industry blogs.

This is not a rant against TV advertising, by the way.
Film is still the greatest storytelling medium. Provided you have a story.
Compare Hungry Jacks to the Proctor and Gamble film 'Best Job' for the 2012 Olympics.
Then let's have a conversation about values, inspiration and insight.