Monday, December 10, 2007

Key to Scorsese

Well I said I'd review viral advertisements... and I'm choosing to start with this effort. The advert is called "The Key to Reserva" but if you do a YouTube search you might have to add "Martin Scorsese" and "Alfred Hitchcock" to the search.

Just to explain the format, I'm about to write spoilers now, so you might want to scroll to the bottom of the post to see the embedded video, follow the link above or do a search. I'll wait.

This advert must have cost a fortune to make. Not only did they hire Martin Scorsese to direct but they had to clear the rights to Alfred Hitchcock's posters and to Bernard Herrmann's score to North by Northwest. All of this to market a wine by Freixenet, which sounds like its an online network provider, or a social network (based around wine?). If this is the start of a campaign then it has to be compared to the Hugh McCloud designed Stormhoek campaign.

This advert is an odd fish. The re-created fake Hitchcock movie clearly owes a debt to North by Northwest (notice the R.O.T. monogrammed handkerchief when Robert Thornberry (I read the credits) takes the hot lightbulb. The same monogram appears on Robert O. Thornhill's handkerchief in "North by Northwest"). The look and feel of this movie feels like a Hitchcock, even the Kelly-like blonde (called Grace in the credits) seems right. The script surrounding the movie however feels like something Christopher Guest would write. With the plot of the piece, it would like to see a feature length version of the premise if Guest wrote it.

The advert, with a running time of a little shy of 10 minutes feels like an escapee rather than a viral. In fact, given the number of times the same advert shows up on YouTube, it might be. And a broadcast advert with closing credits has precedent. However if this is a viral it does make some sense. There are frequent rumours of drink advertising being banned from television, and while this format does suit age checked cinema audiences, an internet drive would get more viewers. The subject matter, namely Martin Scorsese making a movie based on a Hitchcock script is also not a subject likely to attract a very young audience. Plus, making the subject of the advert be the the MacGuffin of the re-created movie is an idea that Hitchcock might agree with.

Freixenet aiming for the same audience of most wines... those who like to wrap themselves in a little glamour (a crowded market), and maybe the film geeks. Stormhoek aims for the tech geeks. I'm sure that there is an overlap, but whichever is the more successful has yet to be seen.

As amusing as this advert is, I don't care enough about the product. However I would pass this on to any movie buff friends I have... which may be the point.

Thanks Shane for telling me about the clip.

take care,

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