Thursday, October 23, 2008

Editing and Humor in American Advertising

In the past few years I have noticed that there are more and more commercials for products, movies, and television shows that use rapid editing of other footage to come up with a humorous advertisement for the product, or commercial for watching the show. The first example I came across for this was of the television series The Sopranos being shown on A&E where the people who made the commercial edited footage from all six seasons, so it looked like the characters were singing an opera song, and then stating that "It's not over till the fat lady sings." showing that even though The Sopranos has ended its series on HBO (it's original venue) it lives on the new channel A&E.

As you can see in this video, by taking different scenes from the show out of context, for instance if someone was yelling or just had there mouth open, it can appear like they are doing something totally different, such as singing the opera song. This is actually a very affective ad because people who have watched The Sopranos find it very funny and nostalgic because they get to remember all those little moments, in a humorous way. For those people who have never watched the show, but most have at least heard of The Sopranos, they know that not only can they watch it on A&E it portrays the show as if there are many different interesting characters, or things that take place through out the six seasons, making them more likely to sit down and watch it on the new channel. Especially for a show like The Sopranos to have something like this is very rare because, there show is usual advertised by the amount of awards its won, or the sex, violence, and language. But since A&E can't show those things from the show as explicitly as HBO could, they chose to advertise it a totally different way. We are seeing this more and more in Modern ads because people, are so use to seeing sex, or violence being used to get people to watch it, those have always been popular. But taking a non-comedic show, or product and making it clever or funny in editing, is something new we see more often in the past 8 years.

Another interesting thing about these types of ads is that many people who have access to programs like iMovie or QuickTime Pro have created there own short video clips, using this same process, except that they are not really advertising anything or at least not intentionally. However many of these types of films, are just as popular on sites like as actual advertisements.

In the next video I found, it is advertising a product. This was one of the very first iPhone ads that is just a series of video clips from movies and television shows, that are edited together showing people picking up a phone, or a phone ringing, and them saying "Hello." Despite the ad showing absolutely no features of the iPhone accept the brief iPhone spinning around at the end; it is still a very effective commercial. Much like The Sopranos, iPods and Apple in general has created a highly recognizable symbol, and meaning. So just by saying "Coming In June" it got people intrigued enough to either go online, or find out about the new iPhone, coming from apple. Since the ad makes it seem like an exciting new product full of mystery. Also the showing of the movie clips in the beginning, would hook people right away to keep watching, because they don't know what this is. Is it a commercial for some sort of award show? Is it a special on movies? Is it an ad for something? A trailer? They don't know so they keep watching, and then they see the apple symbol, and they know it will be something new and interesting all on its own.

Both The Sopranos ad and the iPhone ad are also very interesting because they have a good replay value which is strange for a commercial you might think, but people actually enjoy these because they are clever and funny, and not something they are used to seeing on TV. People show these to there friends, and instead of skipping to another channel during a commercial break, because you've seen an ad so much, this one people might actually stay for to watch again. Because they are brief, funny, and intriguing.

-Marco Cannestra
TA: Kate

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