This Is a Generic Brand Video: context is everything
Why would we make a video that makes fun of brand videos?
We’re making fun of ourselves.
We’re making fun of our own products.
We’re making fun of our customers.
Or are we?
There’s nothing inherently dislikable or cliché about the clips used in TIAGBV. Only the most jaded, soulless jerk would avoid beholding sunsets, laughing babies, attractive young people, or the sight of an eagle soaring. “Too cliché for me! Give me something edgy!”
But using clips like these to evoke the empty claims of faceless, generic corporations — that’s what leaves a bad taste in your mouth. That’s the hypocrisy that Kendra Eash called out in her original piece for McSweeney’s, a masterpiece of self-referential parody (with many precedents).
In fact, the sheer beauty of many of the clips amplifies the disconnect between the claim and the corporate reality, between the signifier and signified. Despite our movie being a parody, I can’t stop watching designer Drew Ng’s beautifully edited clips of the world, strung together like a scene from a Godfrey Reggio movie, set to swelling rhythmic piano. It’s why we can be moved by even the most transparently manipulative ads for insurance, medicines, or financial services, despite our cynicism. And it’s why we feel so icky afterwards.
AdWeek’s Tim Nudd got it right:
“You’ve seen all of this footage in ads from major brands. It’s everywhere. And it’s great that a stock video house would so gleefully celebrate the soul-sucking manipulations for which its offerings are generally used.”
Jared Spool got it wrong (even though he liked the video):
“Proof that Brand agencies are just self parodies.”
No, only the worst brand agencies are self-parodies. That’s why it’s funny. It’s no more a proof than Saul Goodman is proof that all lawyers are slippery weasels.
If your brand agency, ad agency, or video editor wants to use stock footage in such predictably cliché ways, get rid of them.
… Unless of course, their work is so overtly cliché that it calls attention to its own clichéness, and you can find a way to make that work for your brand.
Searching for Stock: Tips From An Expert In House Researcher
Searching for stock clips and photos can be a tedious process. You can spend minutes, hours, sometimes even days looking for the perfect shot to fit your needs. It’s time for you to spend more time creating and less time searching with these tips from one of our expert in-house researchers. How To Identify Good […] Read more
Guest Post: 4 Visual Effects Tips to Add to Your Filmmaking Toolbox
Tristan Olson is the executive producer at Venture, a Video Production Company based in Denver, Colorado. Fix it in post. The term has become synonymous with the ability of the editor or post-production professional to clean up problems that arise on set. Be it cleaning up blemishes on actors or sets, fixing flubbed lines, or […] Read more
Guest Post: Are You Filmmaking on a Budget? Here’s How to Make the Most Out of Your Stock Footage
When you’re just starting out as an independent filmmaker or even a video creator, you’ll often find yourself working with a limited budget that never stretches nearly as far as you thought it was going to. This, coupled with limited access to professional video recording equipment can often lead to feeling overwhelmed and frustrated.Believe it […] Read more