Ana Balarin studied advertising in Brazil before packing her bags and moving to the UK where she landed a placement at Mother London in 2007. Since then she went from intern to executive creative director, working on accounts such as Coca-Cola, Ikea and Stella Artois, gathering awards along the way and even sitting on the D&AD Film Advertising Jury.
In the article below, Ana selects six brilliant examples of film advertising from the past year which illustrate both brilliant storytelling, and the current trend towards the 'manifesto film'.
When I was invited to judge D&AD in the Film category my heart gave a small leap of joy. No more separating TV and cinema from online film. Isn’t it all film after all? But alas my excitement was short-lived as I went to check out the other categories and stumbled upon ‘Branded Film Content’, which is where all the fun and innovative stuff seems to be entered nowadays.
But sidestepping the whole “But what is branded content anyway?” and “Isn’t branded content the exact definition of advertising?” debates, let’s turn our eyes to ‘Film’ of the TV and cinema kind.
Enter the manifesto film. These have slowly crept up on us and now you can barely go through a video on demand session without having to listen to a Hollywood A-lister’s deep voice enlisting the core values of a car / beer /butter brand over a collage of high-octane / crafty / heartwarming footage.
And what is wrong with that? Nothing. But it feels a bit lazy and predictable. You can hear the client thinking ‘Let’s tick all the messaging boxes with this ad and then let’s go have some fun with the long format, online, and mobile pieces.’
However, we all know that longer lengths do not necessarily translate into better storytelling (think of those self-indulgent director cuts that somehow end up being harder to follow than the 15 second cut-down), and that use of new tech doesn’t guarantee a more entertaining experience.
But thankfully not all is lost to the bland world of mood films. There is still plenty of storytelling, surprise and wonder to be had in 60 seconds.
Kit Kat Christmas Break
Yes, we all have had and presented an idea like this before. And no, it never got made. It doesn’t rival Geico’s Unskippable series in terms of wit but it is another great example of the medium becoming the story. And when the medium is good old TV any meta playfulness is more than welcome. Once again, not a product or reason to believe in sight.
Shiseido High School Girl
No high tempo track. No talk of embracing your inner beauty. No inclusive shots of girls doing sports or enjoying a night out. Actually, no girls altogether. Like with make-up it’s all smoke and mirrors in this gender defying film. Carefully crafted and undeniably surprising.
Harvey Nichols Love Freebies
I could watch this a hundred times. What else could you ask from an ad?
Channel 4 Idents
I have no idea what these are supposed to mean and that is part of the magic. Their ambiguity and intrigue is what make them so watchable. With a genius if slightly bizarre direction they are doubtlessly the most daring and inspiring pieces of film to have come out last year.
Bernie Sanders Together
Hillary Clinton Children
If you think you have a campaign that deserves a Pencil, enter your work into the D&AD Awards and see if our judges agree. When it comes to awards, nothing matters more.