Friday, January 11, 2008

“Tide” Demo

Stuck for a product demonstration? Tune into YouTube and watch the “Tide” stop-motion TV spot. Already the winner of a bronze medal at Cannes and much caressed by aficionados (here, for example) of fine advertising, it’s a wonderful concept, beautifully executed.

Here’s a spoiler on the off-chance you haven’t seen it: The spot is for a storage company: The Big Yellow Self Storage Company is a UK chain with about 50 locations so far. Being able to reserve a storage space on line is a very nice touch, because one of the firm’s shining characteristics is a strong focus on customer relationship management. (This had been a slow-growth area for far too many companies outside the US – it seems to be paying off for Big Yellow.)

“Tide” was created by London agency CHI & Partners in Rathbone Street, London; and directed by Dougal Wilson, already well recognized for his music videos. He said in an interview that he grew up as part of “a quite practical and technical family;” it shows up in this TV commercial. Drew Lightfoot was the animation director. The stop-motion videography appears so simple in concept, but it’s built up with incredible detail.

Best of all, you can see a three-and-a-half-minute “making of” video here. It shows the waves of dinner services; household appliances and tools; and – eventually – large-scale furniture. As one of the property masters comments, it’s the largest shopping trip he’s ever done!

The point of this post (unlike many another comment about “Tide” going around the Web) is that this commercial is a product demo, with a wise look at our culture built into it. If you’ve ever believed that the last one with all the toys when he dies, wins, then this spot will resonate: What do you do with all the toys once you’ve got ‘em?

Many companies do product demos: Cars, appliances, consumer electronics, offshore oil rigs, you name it. The trick is to create a difference in the minds of your viewers. “Tide” succeeds in this very well. I’d like the chance to make it work for business-to-business clients – especially heavy industry.

Great spot, guys!

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