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August 24, 2005

Kodak.com really pulls out all the stops

Everyone knows that what Kodak is really selling isn't just film or even digital imagery. It's immortality. And in their latest commercials, they're not leaving that to your imagination, they spell it right out for you. I was looking for a copy of their latest commercials and came across their microsite. It's pretty cool. And if you "take the tour" once you enter the site, you'll see the very long version of their new TV spots.

I'm a sap. I admit it, the video gave me goose bumps and brought a tear to my eye - while sitting at my desk. Here's my question - as creatives, is it really that easy to get that kind of emotional response from the viewer?


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» Is Music The New Onions? from Ernie Schenck Calls This Advertising?
Interesting discussion going on over at American Copywriter. It got started with a short film by Kodak that features a kind of Shrine Of The [Read More]


I'll admit it, the video on the microsite was really good! I kept thinking there should be more, like Kodak introducing some new online storage plan with Flickr-like social networking...but there was nothing. Just a link when I closed the window to buy more stuff from Kodak. The piece felt like it was selling an idea, and a solution to a problem.

Instead it ended up being a really well planned, well executed and very moving short film/commercial.

I think the creative piece far outweighed any ideas that were planned to go along with the site. It is really great, yes...but it leaves me wanting more from Kodak. Considering they had nothing to offer left me feeling really let down.

Well, I can tell you right now, Jennifer, it's much more difficult to make someone cry than to make them laugh. That said, the Kodak "Tour" was not as emotional for me as I think it could have been. The reason is probably its length. It just overstays its welcome. But it comes close.

Much like other things in life, the trick is not trying too hard. Pulling a heartstring requires a deft hand. If you try to hard, you'll just look silly. And, here's a creative secret, if you want to draw tears, music is your very best friend. Pair the right music with the right visuals and you get waterworks. I'd be willing to bet you a beer that's what really got you in the Kodak piece. Go back and watch it again (if you have enough time) and see how much the music was a part of your watery eye. I have to agree with Ernie, though...the piece's length is more than a little cumbersome. Still, on the whole, it makes me green with envy.

My 2¢ is that I liked the brand stuff, and I liked the product stuff OK, but the way the experience is structured, you get the sweet brand hit, and then are left with nothing but product. This is nitpicking an overall nice site, but either give me some more brand stuff to break up the product tour, or completely separate the brand from the product and let those interested in product explore further.

In some work I've done for a shoe client, we've separated the brand stuff away from the product stuff, and have seen a very nice transition to the product side happen. People have written the kind of emails to the client like "Because of this thing I saw, I will only buy your stuff from now on" that you just love to see.

I'm not saying what the best way is, but my experience with the Kodak site came across a little empty because I saw what I like then got the "hard sell" as a follow up. Leave me with a warm, fuzzy feeling, not wide lapels.

That said, nice site. I take away a good feeling about photography in general, and when you say photography, I still think "Kodak".

John, you are right about the music. I watched it again and tried to pay close attention to the physical reactions my body was having. The music raised the goosebumps and the first watery eye. However, towards the end, it was the whole combination of music, visuals and voice that got me. "Shhh. Can you hear them? The pictures are talking. What are they saying? Keep me. Protect me. Share me. And I will live forever. I can hear them."

Two watery eyes. And that wasn't just the music. Yep, I'm a sap.

Oh yes...it's a combination of things. I'm just saying...music is your best friend in this situation. It sets everything else up to do the exact job intended.

While Fallon's, Citi Bank campaigns are great and some of my personal favorite; the edited, 20 sec. Kodak "Tour" spot for television, has to rank as one of the best commercials I have seen in a very long time.

As for the long comemrcial, I think creating a cinematic storyline was quite cost effective for this campaign. In contrast to Citi Bank, the long Kodak commercial can be broken up into several different stories thus creating different spots within one location and a consistent backdrop.

It's the human-interest aspect of this spot that reaches and touches all of us. And I thought it brilliant that the Copland-esque score reflected Kodak's American heritage.

I loved the way the people were filmed in comparison to the photos on the wall; giving it scale and grandeur. The majority of the shots were either looking up or down.

It is a great combination of creative collaboration and client understanding that made this commercial possible and effective.

Does anyone know who the agency was that did the spot?

This might be off topic, but I was watching Forrest Gump last weekend and at the end there's a scene where he's talking to Jenny at her grave. Not a note of music in the entire scene, which made me think of this column, just Tom Hanks acting. I cried like a damn baby.

Which ad did I see about the hospital with a man in coma with not much time to live and woman demanding to be induced into labor? Probably from Singapore. That was an amazing emotional piece.

I want to buy the music from this ad. I cant find any info on it anywhere. Anyone got a line on what it is or where it came from?
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