Thursday, May 28, 2009

The Spark

Another year, another Champions League Final, another big advertising campaign launched. Only this year it was Adidas, with "The Spark", featuring Zinedine Zidane and Lionel Messi. Not as good as Nike's "Take It to the Next Level" campaign from last year, perhaps, but an exciting, visually stylish piece of film with a nicely epic, mythic sense of the beautiful game most adverts utterly miss:



It was directed by an Englishman named Rupert Sanders, a onetime protege of Tony Kaye and advertising director of great repute. There is a definite Kaye influence in the lushness of the visuals and the almost aggressive cutting. Sanders is clearly a talented director. Check out his brilliant spot for the "X-Men Origins: Wolverine" video game, which in its wit and visceral impact, is about a million times better than anything in the film itself:




If you remain unconvinced, these two clips provide evidence of a diverse talent with a great sense of tone and nuance. The "Halo 3" spot, in particular, won tons of advertising awards, and its originality in a world of "Actual In Game Footage" is genuinely startling:




Sanders' website features more advertising work as well as some short films. Sanders himself seems to be moving on in the vague direction of cinema. Some years ago he was linked with a remake of "The Wild Geese", which seems to have broken down. But I wager he will soon be at the helm of a feature film. Hopefully it'll be as good as his advertising work...

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2 Comments:

Blogger Ross said...

I'm obviously coming from a specific place but the sport ads do nothing for me - Spark is just pretentious and the basketball one just seems a bit silly, not only for the battlefield theme but the extent of using the temporary tinnitus device. Really?
As you are well aware I'm no foodie, but I can appreciate that other people can get invested in and enthusiastic about taste and smell and combinations thereof so the pretentiousness rarely rankles, and I can get the passion and enthusiasm for sport as a form of competition and conflict, but the extent to which people invest emotion into it seems literally mental to me.

So.

The Wolverine spot was good, and as you said better than the entire film, but I feel the Halo 3 spot chiefly works as well as it does thanks to the music. Similarly to the recent Gears of War 2 one - the idea and execution aren't really special but using Devotchka's How It Ends to back it up gives it enough lift to be tolerable when I'm sitting and waiting for trailers to start -
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FL_ZjJgbDmc

Coincidentally, the director Joseph Kosinksi directed a different Halo 3 spot, though his is more conventional.

4:34 pm  
Blogger David N said...

An intense team game of any sport - even one as girlie as Basketball - does feel as close as you'll get to combat in daily life without starting a fight. Its a split second thing, your senses all feel heightened, adrenaline is pumping, you're at full tilt physically, and every moment is hyper-inflated. Its like time slows down and speeds up simultaneously. And this is only in our Sunday night games. Professional-level sport must be all that and then some, I'd imagine. Thats what that spot captures. Plus it has Morricone.

Which brings me onto music. Cinema - and by extension, these adverts - is all about the entirety of the experience, its an impressionist artform at its best. So there is no division between sound and picture, really. That is the point, isn't it? They unite to form the whole. So the Halo advert just works. The music and the pictures are a harmonious fit.

The Gears of War one is ok, yeah, the song is a good song, but its the in-game footage that gets me. Its just footage from a game with a nice song over the top, which doesn't seem quite so imaginative.

11:54 pm  

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