Mr. Wind

Shoutout Touf for showing me this.

This is the best commercial I’ve ever seen.

Mr. W

What I like most about it is that it doesn’t feel like an advertisement at all. Advertisements suck.

It feels like it could be a Monty Python sketch. The payoff of it being for wind energy is almost irrelevant to the entertainment of the commercial. The real payoff is that the character is the wind, simple as.

You can tell that the creative team at Nordpol Hamburg didn’t approach the project as an ad. They wanted to make an absurd film about the wind. I could imagine that someone had this idea in their back pocket, waiting for the time when a renewable energy company came knocking with the proper brief.

It all begins with the casting. Guillaume Delaunay cuts quite an absurd figure and immediately sets the tone of the film. Apologies to Guillaume, but I wasn’t even sure if he was a real person. You’re instantly put into a strange alternate reality.

And of course, he plays the part perfectly. Each movement is funnier than the last, so strangely robotic that you can almost be sure he isn’t a human. Yet the contrast between his public persona and the concurrent interview brings out his sympathetic side. We see a man in the midst of an internal struggle. Someone who can’t quite comprehend the response to his obviously antisocial actions. Everything about this dichotomy is so weirdly engaging that you become fully invested in it.

Then you have the general tone of the film: melancholic score; odd camera angles; long, single shots. It runs so completely opposite to what most people consider advertising to be. It’s almost more of an arthouse production.

However, it still scores high as a piece of advertising. It’s incredibly simple. Highly unexpected for any commercial, let alone one for a renewable energy company. It’s concrete in the sense that it brings a somewhat abstract force to life. I don’t know how to assess its credibility, but as for emotional and story, it ranks extremely high as well. The film has a clear beginning, middle, and end, and takes you through multiple emotions (confusion, sympathy, and the eventual inner smile that comes with the payoff) along the way.

We need to see more of this in current advertising. It seems like almost everything that runs now gives itself away at the beginning. Every car advert makes itself known from the beginning. Adverts tend to follow the same formulas. They almost all lack the engaging peculiarity of Mr. Wind.

One current commercial that I like is Join the Flip Side by Weiden and Kennedy. While it doesn’t commit to it to the same extent as Mr. Wind, it shares a similar oddness. Yet it still gives away what it is at the onset. It’s entertaining but lacks the bravery of trusting its own entertainment level and letting the audience wait for the payoff.

I don’t really know how to end this SCAB and I’m currently enjoying my break visiting friends in Port Talbot, Wales, but I want advertisements to be weirder and more entertaining, and I want agencies/clients to let me and my SCA friends be freer to make them so.


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