Having finished watching Game of Thrones and marvelling at the post production which towards the end was setting it back $10million an episode, I can only guess that Lacoste has forked out a small fortune with its latest offering.
Through my long history within the ad industry, I’ve always been in awe of great post-production techniques within the short form art of an advert.
I started my career at Saatchi and Saatchi in a room next door to agency founder Jeremy Sinclair, where I could hear someone saying ‘Roger Manhattan’ over and over again through the stud-partition wall.
‘Who is this Roger Manhattan?’ I wondered. So one night I crept into Jeremy’s office under the cover of darkness to look at a thing called a U-matic, which had an ad on it that blew my young mind.
It was for British Airways and featured the entire Island of Manhattan flying over London to land at Heathrow Airport. Roger Manhattan turned out to be air traffic control guiding this monstrous piece of land to land at Heathrow back in the 80s. The VO justified it all by explaining BA fly the equivalent of the population of Manhattan across the Atlantic every year.
Okay, if I look at it now, it’s a bit pony compared to Drogon laying waste to King’s Landing with its fiery breath, but it seemed to start a competition back then for different agencies and different production companies to try and outdo each other and see how many zeros they could add to their total production budget.
All creatives wanted to be involved in some spectacular epic of an ad that pushed the boundaries of what was thought possible.
The likes of The Mill, MPC and Framestore sprang up, humming with banks of computers generating breathtaking imagery and scenes.
Techniques were being tried and tested on music promos for us to ‘repurpose’ in 60-second masterpieces, which we’d always do a 90-second cut of for our reels. Pretentious? Moi?
What fun we had. All those award-winning ads for Smirnoff, Barclays, Dunlop, Nike, Volvo, Playstation and the rest, each outdoing the next. The ever-dependable Levi’s took this into fashion with a promo-like ad from Jonathan Glazer of a couple running through walls. Jonathan was killing it at the time with promos for Radiohead, Jamiroquai, UNKLE and creating classic ads for Nike and Guinness.
Hollywood was ahead of the game, producing movies that could transport us anywhere in space and time and taking us into worlds of fantasy. Disasters, whether replicating history or in the world of sci-fi, had people queuing around the blocks for record-breaking takings at the cinema. This has always supplied the ad industry with great material to plunder.
And Lacoste has certainly joined that club here with Megaforce, the directing collective, enhancing their reputation as fine film-makers with some great craft.
What They Did
The Edith Piaf music is the perfect French soundtrack to this very emotive subject matter of a split, which literally splits apart a young couple right down the middle as they are having a bit of a barney. Talking of Barney, rubble is all that is left of their flat after their seismic row wreaks its devastation.
The ensuing mayhem their lovers tiff creates, as they try to escape the demolition in dramatic leaps and runs, finally brings them back together in a Buster Keaton style tribute as they embrace within the space of a window frame after the front façade falls upon them.
Oh I do love a happy ending.
But the ending is where this falls apart for me somewhat.
‘Life is a beautiful sport’ is a bit clumsy for me as a campaign thought.
Wearing sports gear in everyday life is hardly a game-changing insight. This unlikely scenario does allow the couple to put their gear through its sporting paces, but didn’t Puma’s After Hours Athlete do this more convincingly in the past?
The hashtag #crocodileinside seems totally at odds with what this film is all about. Are the protagonists of the film unleashing their inner crocodile? Seems a bit angry and destructive if they are.
I might accept it as a logo, but to embrace it as an animal to aspire to, I don’t think so. It’s a bit too Drogon for my liking, albeit no fire-breather.
This will have plenty of fans and earn plenty of accolades in the tradition of these big, technique-heavy films.
And don’t get me wrong, I love it as a spectacle and admire the performances.
But it feels far too familiar to things I’ve already seen including Christopher Nolan’s ‘Inception’, without that final justification that allows me to forgive it this level of plagiarism.
Maybe impressive post-production is becoming so ubiquitous and expected today, I no longer find it as impressive as I once did in ads.