The Story of Sarah & Juan

The funny thing about working in this industry is that even when we’re away from work, we’re never really away.  Television and movies are part of our everyday lives.  It’s really hard for me not to pay attention to the details.  Sometimes I try to turn off the “work” switch and just sit back and relax.  Especially at the movies.  But it’s really hard to do.  Other times, when casually watching television at home, if something grabs my attention, I do a little research and try to learn more about the work.

Last night was one of those nights.  Although I’m a little late to the party (this spot was declared the “Ad of the Day” by Adweek way back in October) this particular commercial really grabbed me.  First off, I love the song.  The Elvis Presley version is one of my all time favorites.  That was probably what grabbed my attention first.  Just goes to show the power of a song.  After watching for a couple of seconds I could easily see that this spot had a relatable story with a mass appeal even without any dialogue.  Upon the completion of the commercial I did a little research and found out there was a two minute version that was even more powerful.  Really extraordinary work.  The color treatment was quite well done by Luke Morrison at The Mill and I really enjoyed the look as the spot took us through several key phases of the characters lives.  I’m seeing more and more of this look lately.  The blacks slightly raised while maintaining good, solid midtones.  It’s allows for a soft, almost nostalgic look that can be quite effective.

I find this type of marketing very powerful.  I’m no advertising expert, but selling your product by NOT selling your product seems like a really smart way to showcase your brand.  Last year I did a commercial for Vistaprint that followed the exact same formula.  It told a relatable, feel-good story while placing the product in the back seat and allowing the storyline to be the main draw.  It’s a different approach, and I don’t know if it leads to more sales or not, but for me, it was something different.  Something original.  And anytime an ad agency is willing to take a chance on something like that, I applaud them.

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