Forget the Emmys: tune in to killer TV ads

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Forget the Emmys: tune in to killer TV ads

Ever flip on the tube just to catch a glimpse of your favorite commercial? If far-out commercials attract you more than cut-and-dried TV shows, then tune in to the 2003 Cannes International Advertising Festival Review, running Friday to Oct. 15 at Cine Cube, a theater in downtown Seoul.
At this screening, 123 TV commercials from around the world will be beamed onto a big screen, including winners of this year’s festival in France. The annual extravaganza, which took place in June of this year, ranks among the top three industry events and has been held since 1953.
From the viewpoint of the media world, advertising keeps the wheels turning. While TV programs seem to be the foundation of what’s on the air, in a sense they exist thanks to commercials, which provide the revenue.
If, after watching a commercial, you’ve developed an urge to buy something that you’d lived perfectly well without until then, your behavior supports the power of advertising to create mass demand. Academic views aside, advertising, with its brief, smart and crisp nature, tends to be groundbreaking and thus eye-catching. Advertising has expanded from just publicizing new products to being a bona fide niche of the art world, which is what the annual festival in Cannes is all about.
Advertising also serves as a barometer of reality, according to Dan Wieden, a creative director and juror of the Cannes festival.
“Many candidates this year used sensational methods to be eye-catching, which reflected the bad economic situation,” Mr. Wieden said.
This year’s grand prize was awarded to a commercial for an Ikea desk lamp made by the Florida-based ad agency, Crispin Porter + Bogusky. The viewer first sees a lamp that’s been thrown on the street on a rainy day. A new lamp has taken its place in its home. Just when the scene invites viewers to develop some sympathy for the abandoned lamp, a man shows up on screen and jeers, saying, “Many of you feel bad for this lamp. That is because you are crazy. It has no feelings. And the new one is much better.”
This advertisement did not even try to publicize the product, yet it imparted viewers ― as well as the Cannes jury ― with a strong impression.
Another winner was a Nike commercial featuring a robust young man being chased by an angry chicken. The pursuit of the unconventional reaches its peak in a commercial for fruit juice. It shows a man lying in a basement after filling the upper stories with juice. He’s waiting for the building to collapse, supposedly to appreciate the taste to its fullest.


by Chun Su-jin

Cine Cube is in Gwanghwamun, central Seoul. It is best reached from Seodaemun Station on subway line No. 5, exit 6. Tickets cost 5,000 won ($4.50). For more information, call (02) 2002-7770 or go to the Web site www.cinecube.net.
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