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Ad Makers Paint Bomb Glasgow 2006-10-20

Posted by clype in Glasgow, Humanities, Scotland.

‘Sony’s’ 2005 advert ‘Balls’ was a major event in advertising.

It was a major event in San Francisco too, since the company decided not to use computer-generated graphics to create the effect of a quarter of a million balls bouncing through the city’s steep hillside streets; it decided to use real balls and real streets.

A good deal of chin-scratching must have gone on when it was decided to make a follow-up. What new interpretation could be used? Bouncy balls in another setting, perhaps? Or a different item in San Francisco?

Or perhaps, like ‘Honda’ which has had an amazing run of memorable adverts (interconnected machinery in ‘Cogs’, ‘Hate Something Change Something’, moustachioed driver graduating from scooter to hot air balloon, a choir replicating the sound of a car), follow something excellent with something completely differently excellent.

THE ADVERT: Sony Bravia
THE BRIEF: Persuade people it’s worth shelling out for a new LCD TV
THE SCHTICK: Different coloured paints are fired all over a drab-looking estate, in the style of an orchestrated firework show. A clown with orange hair runs through the estate, setting off a climax in which a tower block has a “reverse demolition” as paint explodes all the way to the top, resulting in a delicious sounding rain of paint

In the end it was decided to keep the original theme, but to use neither balls nor San Francisco — hence 70 000 litres of paint, mortars, bottle bombs and 1 700 detonators redecorating ‘Queen’s Court’ in Glasgow’s Toryglen estate.

[Picture from TV advert] [Picture from TV Ad]

Mr.Jonathan Glazer, the man who created horses running through the surf for ‘Guinness’, directed the advert which was filmed in 2006-07 with a cast of 200 people (only one of whom, the clown, is seen in the finished product).

Other nearby buildings were covered with tarpaulin to prevent them getting spattered with paint, and trips to the seaside and discos were laid on for residents who suffered disruption. Cranes, wires, firework experts, massive tanks of paint — they were all used and all carefully eliminated from the final film to show a seamless celebration of colour. We all now know what an explosion in a paint factory would look like.

It took 60 people five days to clean up, though only so much cleaning would have been needed — the buildings were vacant and scheduled for demolition. The paint, ‘Sony’ points out, was water-based and environmentally friendly.

Mr.Jose Gonzalez’s cover of ‘Heartbeats’, the soundtrack to ‘Balls’, became a hit after that advert; in choosing Rossini’s ‘Thieving Magpie’ for this advert, the temptation to follow that part of the formula has been resisted.

To many the Rossini will sound like a playful bit of mischief — to others it will have the sinister echo of Kubrick’s ‘A Clockwork Orange’, where it accompanied a slow-motion fight in an opera house.

‘Paint’, as this advert is known, does achieve that most important of goals in the modern TV-watching environment — it’s an advert you’re pleased to watch.

Though is there a sense of anti-climax that all this effort has gone into an advert for a TV? Though undoubtedly a marvellous feat of staging and creativity, it does not seem quite the exuberant equal of the San Francisco feat. It will be for ‘Sony’ to judge whether its reported 1 million GBP in filming costs will translate into sales.

What is really fascinating about this advert, though, is the life it has taken on beyond the mere gaps between TV shows.

Through a bit of cunning, this advert has had a viral existence on the internet for some months. Snippets of information and photographs have been released by the company. People have put their own photographs on ‘Flickr‘, even their own films on ‘YouTube‘, and blog entries about it are legion. The advert has its own website, where you can watch it in high-resolution, download it to your ‘iPod’ (or ‘Sony PSP’, perhaps), and watch a DVD-style behind-the-scenes video.This makes a certain amount of immediate commercial sense — the kind of people who will be engaged by this on-line presence may well be buying new TVs — but perhaps it will also become standard practice for all kinds of advertisers in trying to get more bang for their buck.

In which case, good news for people who like good adverts.

  • “Purple rain”, Ad breakdown, “The Magazine’s” review of advertising’, BBC Magazine, 2006-10-20,11:57 GMT 12:57 UK





1. Fireworks on The Green « devine - 2006-11-06

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