Tuesday, February 17, 2009
Geriatric Hip and Advertising Shorts
Geriatric Hip is a short I completed about 2 years ago that I worked on during my spare time while I was working at Cartoon Pizza on Pinky Dinky Doo. I wanted to create a short which wasn’t aimed at children, and you can’t get further away from children than a film about the joy of smoking.
Around the same time I purchased a DVD collection of 1950’s-1970’s Classic Commercials which had so much great work on it. Some of my favorites were the spots for cigarettes, in particular one featuring the Flintstones. In the 60’s TV was a relatively new medium, and an early way that marketers capitalized on the success of it was to sponsor an entire show. The show would often open with stars of the show personally using or endorsing the sponsor's products. As the decade went on, major sponsors were no longer needed as advertisers lined up to buy spots in the middle of shows. TV executives preferred not having one big sponsor as it meant less interference with the content of the show and the one sponsor system fell out of favor. While I am not a smoker, and have never been, I was intrigued and inspired by the way they were once advertised.
The idea of having one major sponsor hasn’t gone away completely though. No one has quite figured out how to make money out of content on the internet yet. Just as TV was an unproven media in the early 60’s, the internet is in a similar position today. When Dan Meth and Channel Frederator teamed up for their Nite Fite series, they got Starburst to sponsor them. They worked out a distribution deal, and included the product in the shorts themselves. Dan and Frederator had to give up some creative license and get things approved by the Starburst people, but in exchange for that they got the shorts paid for. If they had any ideas that Starburst didn’t like, they simply saved those ideas for another time, when another sponsor might not object to a particular idea.
The line between advertising and entertaining are being blurred all the time with marketing companies like The Viral Factory trying to capitalize on the power of the internet by creating viral videos such as the Trojan Games for Trojan. A second example of a successful viral campaign would be the one for Carl’s Jr. featuring Paris Hilton washing a car.
Over the past few years I have entered Geriatric Hip in a number of festivals and it has not been received well. Until you screen a film you never know how it will do. It is my version of an advertising era gone by, when smoking was fun. It’s now time for it to go out into the big scary world of the internet and see how it does on its own.