Share ideas that inspire. FALLON PLANNERS (and co-conspirators) are freely invited to post trends, commentary, obscure ephemera and insightful rants regarding the experience of branding.

Sunday, March 05, 2006

Trend: Collective loss of wonder

I had a conversation the other day about how visually (over) dramatizing performance in ads for effect is harder today because we just assume everything amazing is CG. That along with once again looking at the beautiful Bravia spot we were talking about below, made me realize that I’ve been missing something in life recently… A sense of wonder at things I see on film.

Save for some documentaries, I can’t remember the last time I was really taken back by something I saw on film. And I’m starting to think it’s not just me getting (more) cynical or because I work in advertising.

Even commercial puffery used to get more attention, more 'wow' – stunts, cool scenes and demos in both film and ads used to have a life and a fame of their own… Ski off a cliff, fire a car out a 10th story window and people used to be like “wow, how did they do that?!” and there would be mini documentaries or press stories about it. And I think it was not because of the visual impact alone, but because it was real. Someone really pulled that shit off!

Today? No chance! Yes there are the crummy cable TV docs about the ‘amazing’ special effects of each new blockbuster that comes out. But no one really cares or gets excited. – The reference to the Bravia spot is that I spoke to some people that just assumed it was all CG and were totally unimpressed by the spot overall and others who realized what was really going on with it and were a million times more impressed.

So anyway I was trying to pinpoint when I think we all lost our sense of wonder at things filmic – I remember earlier CG still packing a punch.... the first Jurassic Park and perhaps even The Matrix or Titanic still being (visually) big piles of the poo that everyone wanted to step up and take a big whiff of... but since then I’m drawing a blank… there was a lot of talk about the effects on StarWars episode I as it was coming out, but it was kind of halfhearted and more negative than anything.

So is it just me or has CG excellence and pervasiveness made life much duller, rather than more exciting?


Alex said...

Great blog guys, I'm an aspiring "creative" (who the hell coined that term anyway?) and ever since I stumbled upon this place not so long ago I've learned a lot.

Regarding the whole CG thing and your Bravia ad, I couldn't agree more!
The reaction you're talking about was exactly what I experienced when I played it around to people. Everybody was like "uh, so they CGed the f**k out of their ad, what's so special about some bouncing 3d balls?"
Yet when they heard that it was done for real and you guys dropped what - 150 000 balls - on the street, everybody was like "it's beautiful, they actually went there and DID it!"

So I couldn't agree more with you.. the whole CG thing is getting quite old, quite quickly and I think people are getting jaded. There's way too many illusions bombarding us from every side (how many women without silicone implants are left in the world?) and this is making the average viewer increasingly more and more cynical and disinterested - I think we've all figured out by now that you can do anything with a computer.

A. said...

strange that the bravia ad only truly became AMAZING once people had their cynicism answered by being told that it was real bouncy balls and not CGI. if it wasn't for the viral component of the plan that spread the word on how it was made i wonder if it would've had nearly the same cultural impact. this says to me that an ad doesn't have the credibility anymore to deliver the whole message, so you have to supplement it with communications in another format that people do trust to deliver the whole story. this basically makes the case for platform ideas over standard campaign ideas - if an ad as awesome as the bravia ad can't stand on its own to make a splash, what can?

catweasel said...

Get over it: The former "real" has been over-ridden by a more interesting, more prefect, even more immersive "reality" Baudrillard calls the "hyperreal".

Welcome to the hyperreal of the postmodern age...

Lachlan said...

But I think the point is that what most of us see and hear around is that most people do not in fact find the hyper real more perfect nor more interesting, quite the reverse.

catweasel said...

lachlan, so it is a question of like or dislike? Well, I get your point there.

On the other hand, what can/should you do about it? How can you stop or work against the tendency of hyperrealism when you are becoming a part of it eg. when we as a people function as parts of the very same simulation we so much dislike? Example? Look at YoutTube, RealityTV or would-be reality-based movies (Blairwitch etc.). Society began to put itself into the frame of simulation, finds out about the emtpyness/bleakness of the medium and subject and starts complaining that it all isn't what it used to be...

Looking into the multi-mediated mirror don't be surprised to not like what your are about to discover - it's a slightly shifted form of reality and it sometimes still is bleak and boring, just like life has its "downtimes".

Lachlan said...

That's pretty interesting - I suppose really bothadvanced CG and blogs, are after initial interest simply because of what they are, totally dependent on their content - sometimes great, more often boring! Or maybe it's just that things get very tired very fast these days.