IDEA: It's hard for TV manufacturers to advertise picture quality in commercials. Viewers, after all, will be watching the ad on their own TV sets, not yours. Many marketers settle for telling you how great it is, or offering metaphors for it. But Vizio is trying a different approach, with delightful results.
"Rather than focus on how to demonstrate picture quality, we focused on what happens when you have amazing picture quality. You stare at it," said Steve Yee, group creative director at David&Goliath. "Then we stared at our tagline, 'Beautifully simple,' and it came to us. Let's do a single take where no one pays attention to the chaos happening in the room because they are so captivated by the television."
Three ads do just that, featuring slow-motion 270-degree pans around people's homes, showing them glued to Vizio's P-Series Ultra HD TVs as pandemonium erupts around them.
COPYWRITING: In one spot, a family is unaware that a tree has fallen into their house, though firefighters are already sawing it to pieces. In another, a turkey dinner is scavenged by dogs and a kitchen has caught fire, as the cook is transfixed by the TV in the next room. (A third ad, "Pillow Fight," is coming soon.)
The writers wrote dozens of scenarios. "What we discovered worked best were scenarios that started with a truth—then we pushed it to an absurd level," said group creative director Ben Purcell. "We thought of things that have happened in our own lives. One of us had a dog that ate the cake at a birthday party. That led to a list of possible scenarios we could all relate to."
There is a brief voiceover near the end: "With four times the resolution, nothing is more captivating. Ultra HD from Vizio." The company logo appears on screen along with "Beautifully simple"—a line that Purcell said "has been a great filter for the work. Everything we do and say must reflect that."
FILMING/ART DIRECTION: MJZ director Dante Ariola shot the ads in four days in Prague. They built a house, then destroyed it, for "Fallen Tree." The other two spots were filmed in a studio.
"For such a simple shoot, it was quite technical," said Purcell. "We had to build the sets to exact specifications so that when the camera rotated and shot at 220 frames per second, the story could be told in 30 seconds." Most of the action was in-camera, he added, but "there were certainly things dialed up in post," including more mayhem at the turkey dinner.
Yee added: "We put a lot of attention to details that went airborne—sawdust flying out of the tree, feathers flying out of the pillows, and the turkey bits violently flying all over the place. Not only did it pay the benefit of high definition, it also made the scenes really fun to watch."
Asked for some fun stories from the set, Yee said: "Trying to shoot the dogs eating the turkey was really challenging. Not because you're trying to get the dogs to shake their heads violently as if they were ripping into a turkey. What made it challenging was the communication. We would send comments to our director, Dante, who then gave direction in English to his Czech assistant director, who didn't speak English very well, who then communicated the direction to the dog trainers, who spoke another language. It was a bad game of international telephone."
The aesthetic, wardrobes and camera moves are all, in keeping with the tagline, beautifully simple.
TALENT: "Prague was full of people with great faces," Yee said. "They basically had to look stunned, which is harder than you'd think. But as long as you could look excited and amazed, didn't have any missing teeth, and looked like you lived in the U.S., you got the part."
SOUND: Opera music gave the spots just the right tone. "If the music didn't go far enough, it would seem sad that someone lost their house, or their dinner was destroyed," said Purcell. "But since it is over-the-top, it adds levity."
MEDIA: National cable and online.
Founder & Chairman: David Angelo
Chief Creative Officer: Colin Jeffery
President: Brian Dunbar
Group Creative Director: Ben Purcell
Group Creative Director: Steve Yee
Copywriter: Patrick Que
Art Director: Allen Yu
Director of Broadcast Production: Paul Albanese
Group Account Director: Jennifer Mull
Account Supervisor: Kammie Dons
Assistant Account Executive: Karolyne Crowe
Planning Director: Kristen Knape
Director of Business Affairs: Rodney Pizarro
Production Company: MJZ
Director: Dante Ariola
President: David Zander
Sr. Executive Producer: Scott Howard
Producer: Natalie Hill
Director of Photography: Philippe LeSourd
Production Designer: Floyd Albee
Editor: Adam Bright
Assistant Editor: Michael Weiss
Producer: Jonathan Carpio
VFX Supervisor: Rob Hodgson
Compositing Supervisor: Dominik Bauch
Tracking Supervisor: Messrob Torikian
Executive Producer: Stephanie Gilgar
Senior Producer: Pip Malone
Coordinator: Karena Ajamian
Original Music: Human
Audio Mix: Margarita Mix, Santa Monica
Mixer: Nathan Dublin