OK, OK, so we're half way through October but hey it's been a busy month! But that doesn't mean you should miss out on some great branded content! Here's a few goodies from a feast of entertainment on offer last month - and if I've missed out you're favorite, feel free to leave a comment below - yeah, right!
In no particular order...
Kahlua | "The White Russian"
The Big Lebowski was pretty much the greatest commercial for Kahlua ever made, as Jeff Bridges’ iconic character, “The Dude,” saunters through the film sipping on White Russians and just being generally awesome.
Now, 16 years later, Bridges has finally starred in an actual commercial for Kahlua, except he’s not playing the dude, and it’s not really a commercial. Instead, it’s a bonkers four-minute film noir.
In the film, a present-day Bridges—sipping a White Russian in a smoky jazz club—narrates the tale of his younger self finding a valuable briefcase in the Mexican desert before being saved from the bad guys by an astronaut that falls from the sky. It’s an incredibly weird piece of content, but Bridges’ narration is entrancing, and in the end, it fits the Kahlua tagline: “Mixing things up since 1936.”
GE | "Enhance Your Lighting"
We’ve written about how brands in boring industries can make incredible content before, but GE’s new two-minute fake infomercial starring Jeff Goldblum blows all of those posers out of the water. GE hired legendary comedy duo Tim & Eric to produce this masterpiece, which features Goldblum in ’70s loungewear shilling for the Link lightbulb (and Wink app!) in tremendous fashion. The Jurassic Park actor offers the perfect multi-demo reach, appealing to older generations and millennials alike. In just four days, the video has over a million views. Props to BBDO New York, also the agency behind GE’s hit videos “Childlike Imagination,” “Ideas Are Scary,” and “The Boy Who Beeps.”
But this one might top them all. Come for the lightbulbs, stay for Jeff Goldblum in a hot tub playing a grand piano.
Vs Magazine | Aspirational
Vs. magazine‘s new ad serves as a reminder media companies can do commercials, too, and there’s a good chance they’ll do it better than everyone else.
The commercial is actually a poignant two-and-a-half-minute short film that contemplates the nature of fame. As Kirsten Dunst waits for an Uber, two fans pull up and rush out of their cars, repeating a mantra of ohmygawd, immediately accosting Dunst in the pursuit of selfies. Dunst endures the intrusion, visibly uncomfortable, and when they finish, she asks the girls if they want to ask her any questions.
“Uh, uh,” one girl says. “Can you tag me?”
“That was going to be my question too,” the other echoes.
Dunst’s subtle facial expressions and the film’s awkward pauses make for a potent combination. And the two girls ride off excited, not because they met Dunst, but because the pictures will give them fleeting social fame.
“‘Aspirational’ is when you reach out toward something not attainable quite yet but that could be maybe in the near future,” director Matthew Frost told AllDayEveryDay. “It’s not really related to the actual film necessarily, but you could say that the two girls are aspiring to be the most popular they can be through social media. It’s more about what they can take from her that interests them the most: her celebrity and documenting themselves next to it gets them closer to their goal.”
IKEA | "Experience the Power of Bookbook"
In the wake of #BendGate, everyone and your mama’s ad agency have been parodying Apple. But IKEA was there first on September 3 when they released a trailer for their 2015 IKEA catalog that perfectly mocked an Apple product launch.
“It’s not a digital book or an e-book,” says Jörgen Eghammer, IKEA’s “Chief Design Güru,” as he unveils the catalog. “It’s a bookbook.”
Though the video champions the bookbook’s instantaneous load time and “touch and drag” functionality, it also comes with a complimentary interactive product site.
You gotta love those Swedes... now excuse me, I need to "put anoder chickie in de ooven!"
Skype | "Following Hearts" & Starbucks | "Meet Me At Starbucks"
I’m grouping Skype and Starbucks together because they’ve both done an amazing job telling touching stories about people, with their products quietly serving as the conduit that makes the story possible. In Skype’s case, it’s their video conferencing technology bringing people together. In Starbuck’s case, it’s their stores.
Skype has been at this for a long time; you might recall their touching video, “Born Friends,” about two girls, each born with one arm a world apart, who grew up together via Skype. Their latest creation is a collaboration with JacksGap, a British travel storytelling project, to create three documentaries about three extraordinary women. Smartly, Skype handed over creative control to JacksGap, and the result is the start of what promises to be a very authentic series.
Similarly, Starbucks first global campaign is… well, ambitiously global. Taking a page from Skype’s efforts, Starbucks created a mini-documentary about customers in 59 different Starbucks in 28 countries over the course of a continuous 24-hour period.
As Ad Age reports, it was a very challenging undertaking:
“For the global campaign, called ‘Meet me at Starbucks,’ the coffee giant isn’t focusing on products like it normally does in its ads. Rather, it’s focusing on the brand by chronicling a day in the life of Starbucks through a mini-documentary, shot in 59 different stores in 28 countries, using 39 local filmmakers, 10 local photographers and one director coordinating it all at 72andSunny, the agency responsible for the work. Each part of the ambitious project was shot in the same 24-hour period, producing 220 hours of footage, and features various subjects—from a hearing-impaired group meeting, to a group of women discussing scrapbooking, to elderly couples to teenage friends—going about their business at Starbucks.”
Thanks to our friends at Contently for curating this list of content.