Perusing Adweek as I often do to keep up with what’s going on in my clients’ world I came across a pretty cool ad Y&R recently did for Craftsman:
The music in the ad was obviously created by editing video of people doing various things with Craftsman products. The composer/editor in this case was Kutiman (the internet sensation from a while back who created music from various YouTube clips he put together).
Adweek’s Mark Dolliver critiques:
But the percussive sounds achieved here by using Craftsman tools in oddball fashion just don’t seem all that interesting. When a saw is used to create a rasping sound as it scrapes a cinder block, I feel like telling it not to quit its day job. No doubt some viewers will feel differently. But the self-consciously artsy approach seems like a mismatch for the audience of people who buy and use Craftsman tools.
While I agree the spot leaves something to be desired I’d offer up that the spot not captivating the viewer has less to do with trying to “artsy” but more because it’s lacking two simple components: build, and melody. It’s definitely edited well and the beat it creates is nice, but when a client asks me for music they typically ask for something that builds (or “goes somewhere”), is relatively positive, and then they’ll drill down to whatever specific sounds strike their fancy for the brand.
If you watch the spot again closely you’ll notice beats being layered throughout but the layering doesn’t really create a build, and serves to muddle sonically as more elements are added. When the spot ends you don’t wander away humming anything, just perhaps thinking “that was clever” or in Mr. Dolliver’s case something written with more @’s and &’s.
Since the spot is focused explicitly on creating music with tools, to my ears the error was made in not creating a more melodic soundtrack that “goes somewhere.”
For a final thought I’d like to throw out this old Nike commercial:
Even something as simple as the squeak of the sneaker allows you to create a melody – a very simple one no doubt, but listen carefully! There’s build, it sticks out above the beat of the rest of the commercial, and also the focus on the underlying beat was a more simple approach and doesn’t take away from the sneaker squeak. In fact when harkening back to this spot, I immediately started humming the rhythm sneaker-squeak melody.
Overall I think the Craftsman spot is still pretty cool and Kutiman definitely deserves kudos for his editing skill, but the music itself leaves a little something to be desired to really drive the commercial home.