“Blackberry: ‘Shoot the Apple'” Advertisement Analysis


In 2009, Guava Studios unofficially published a 16-second advertisement for Blackberry. The advertisement concisely and implicitly attacks its rival company Apple’s iPhone and highlights Blackberry’s unique selling proposition of a touch screen. It uses the “show-not-tell” method with simple but symbolic montages and photorealistic computer-generated images (CGI).

Opening with a black screen and the sound of a gun loading, the advertisement stimulates the audience’s curiosity and anticipation. Using the on-beat audio-sync editing—the perfect harmonization of the beat and the image— it then transitions into the long horizontal scene of an apple sitting in the center at the exact moment of an off-screen gunshot sound. This technique helps to enhance the audience’s interest in and attention to the advertisement.

Even though the advertisement does not explicitly show the logos of the two companies, the viewer can recognize them due to the use of associative montage that portrays these parties with two photorealistic CGI-generated fruits of their names— blackberry and apple. When the bullet—in the form of a blackberry— finally appears in the scene with fast-paced music, it penetrates the apple in slow motion and sudden silence. The immediate change in sound and filming speed leaves a lasting memory of this specific scene in the audience.  Contrast montage also appears in the association of the blackberry with a fast and powerful bullet—rather than a tiny, feeble subject—that can crash and pierce through the core of a hard apple. Although this phenomenon is implausible, the believable CGI-generated depiction of the shapes and of the ballistic impact convinces the audience to believe in not only what they see but also the implied message—Blackberry is better than Apple.

The advertisement effectively conveys the controversial idea visually without being too offensive or tactless. However, it does not inform the audience much about Blackberry’s products—other than the text “The world’s first touch-screen Blackberry” at the end— and actually benefits Apple with viral marketing. Regardless of the lack of product information, this advertisement succeeds in using various techniques that cause lasting memory in the audience.

Chipotle: The Art of Attack


The Chipotle short film above, created by Moonbot Studios, employs contrast and associational montage in order to create an attack ad that has a clear message but hides the usual accompanying antagonism behind the film’s artistic nature.

The short mainly consists of contrast montage between the scarecrow, and the horrifying environment around him. Contrast montage consists of juxtaposing two images on screen in order to accentuate some difference between the two. In this short, the conscience of the scarecrow, and care for how he prepares his food, are contrasted with the giant corporation that mistreats animals and ruins the environment.

The short accentuates this contrast with the use of different landscapes. All the land around the city has been turned to desert, an environment hostile to humans, and proven to be less visually appealing. On the other hand, the scarecrow’s home consists of elements usually found in a savannah, such as grass and sparse trees, which are naturally more appealing.

Once the short establishes this contrast, the image of the chipotle pepper appears a couple times with the scarecrow. This is a subtle use of associational montage, in order to unite the scarecrow with Chipotle in the viewer’s mind. Without any explicit explanation or even the logo, the viewer understands Chipotle is an outlier in a sea of other companies that harm the environment.

The animated short is undoubtedly beautiful and by showing its message through montage and contrast, rather than explicitly telling the viewer, the ad manages to maintain its identity as an artistic short film. The result is an attack ad where the focus is on the message and imagery, rather than Chipotle’s antagonism as it calls out competitors.

Manitoba Telecom Services 3G Plus Network Ad



MTS is an Indian company that deals mainly with cell phones anything pertaining to that market. This commercial is meant to advertise their new 3G Plus Network and the speed it provides when surfing the web.

The commercial utilizes associational montage which occurs within the same shot. This type of montage is used to create some type of relationship between two different things. This commercial creates associational montage between technology and a new born baby. The baby delivers himself and immediately is able to start using the internet thanks to MTS’s fast, new network. The montage is effective in showing how fast both the baby and the 3G Plus Network are, but it also creates the idea that technology is so easy to use even a new born can use it. This is also made apparent in the baby moving from device to device to get what he needs. This movement between devices additionally shows that the MTS network can work across multiple devices.

The commercial has no dialogue, but it has a version of Diana Ross’s “I’m Coming Out” track playing in the background. While the commercial’s goal is not to create rhythm, it could certainly benefit from editing principles to match the track playing in the background. As it is, the advertisement does nothing to edit on the beat of the song. If the commercial was to make its cuts on-beat with the song, but offset the edit by two or three frames, the commercial would become more effective and better match the action to the music.

So A Talking Pig Walks Into A Yoga Class…: CGI animation in Geico Advertisements

Geico Auto Insurance is well known for their animated Gecko mascot, who teaches audiences how to save money on insurance. The company’s advertisements are very brief, 30 second to one minute long, campaigns that are aimed at emphasizing different aspects about their insurance policies. Their main advertising strategy therefore utilizes the shifting trends in media compression, by placing more information into smaller spaces in order for viewers to process the main point before attention is lost.

The advertisement begins with human characters participating in a Yoga class. The first shot is a close up and head orient of a woman in the class, and then the camera pans out and follows the class from left to right. When the cell phone rings, instead of a human in the class answering it, a CGI pig jumps up and defies the assumption of the viewer. The omission of the pig in the beginning of the ad is meant to spark curiosity and hold attention, since his appearance goes against what is expected. The camera shot of the pig is from a very low angle and this emphasizes the superiority of the pig as he brags to the class about his better-quality insurance. These camera angles highlight the underlying contrast montage of the advertisement. Maxwell, the pig, is showing his advantage over others in the class, by using the Geico “claims status” report app. As he exclaims about receiving the message, his eyes shift from direct address to the audience to an off screen glace toward others in the studio. The other participants seem to bow their head in humiliation as he does this, showing their failure in contrast to the successful pig (and their annoyance for having his cell phone ring in class). The pig is completely photorealistic and fits into the environment perfectly with expertly crafted CGI effects. Although he is non human, his expression and movement are very realistic and convincing.

The digital creation of a pig, however, goes against people’s preference for neotneous faces, because he is shown with a large nose, small cheeks and small eyes. One thing that may have been more effective in the ad would have been to create a more adorable or neotenous pig that people would better relate to. However, overall the advertisement is effective in engaging the audience and teaching them about the benefits of Geico.


Audi Hummingbird: Not Your Typical Car Commercial


When Audi’s new model – the A6 Avant – was launched, instead of releasing a generic car commercial that would showcase a car’s sleek design, leather seats, and clean-shaven driver, Audi created the “Hummingbird.” In this 60-second spot, the audience is transported to a surrealist, Lorax-like environment, navigated by a mechanical hummingbird. The commercial’s strengths lie in its concept and execution. Metaphorically, the hummingbird – quick and nimble – compatibly symbolizes Audi’s ultra-lightweight technology, build, and tagline: “the lighter you are, the more agile you are.” This juxtaposition is most noticeable in the last scene when diegetic montage is applied. Diegetic montage is a technique in which advertisers often place two objects side by side to create a comparison or association: in this case, the hummingbird and the Audi A6 Avant.

In terms of execution, advertising agencies are increasingly shifting towards digital animation because people enjoy the novelty of computer-generated imagery (CGI), and this particular ad highlights the skill it takes to bring something to life. There’s believable natural lighting and depth. Using a wide range of shots, such as close ups, rear angle, and head-on direct to follow the hummingbird’s journey, the final creation also evokes a sense of perceived realism and appeal, despite the fact that the entire ad consists of unrealistic elements and environments, such as flowers made from traffic cones and road signs. One of the reasons why the digitally animated hummingbird appears so lifelike is because of its movements: agile, playful, and effervescent. This is important, because research (McDonnell et al., 2008) shows that object movement is more influential than object shape for viewers when associating virtual things with reality.

Relying purely on visuals and classic John Charles Thomas’s song, “Open Road” as background music, this ad also echoes what made the Chipotle Scarecrow campaign so powerful and highly-acclaimed. However, it fails to arouse sentiment the way that the Scarecrow ad does, because it chooses to focus more on marketing the car’s agility and speed, while lacking a deeper emotional narrative that would make the ad more memorable for some audiences. Overall, Audi’s “Hummingbird” is a beautiful piece of work that advertises a common consumer product in a more unique way.

-Laura Zhang

The Sims 4 Youtube Ad Analysis

The Sims 4 is a dynamic simulation game in which the controller plays the role of God, directing the lives of the characters (Sims) in the game. In this YouTube advertisement, the directors use an element of mystery to increase suspense and maintain viewers’ attention from the beginning of the ad to the end. It begins with a green light casting a glow over a city as the cast of the ad stares at it in wonder.

Since the avatars used in the game are simply idealized versions of the humans playing behind them, they serve as links between the audience and advertisement. During the climactic point of the ad, creators combine the two worlds and show humans and CGIs (computer generated images) interacting together in the same environment for a substantial amount of time. This was a good move on their part because studies have shown that human beings prefer realistic over non-realistic images. That last statement may make the decision to use CGIs seem risky. However, since this is the fourth installment of the game, its creators were most likely targeting current players by highlighting the game’s new improvements instead of focusing on attracting new customers.

One of the improvements being made to the game is the more “realistic” look that avatars now possess. To accomplish this, the game’s creators made characters’ faces look more neotenous (youthful and innocent). People tend to be more attracted to these types of faces so the ultimate goal for the creators of the ad would be to make viewers associate that attraction with the advertised product itself.



Adidas Football: “I am Brazuca”

In celebration of the 2014 Brazil FIFA World Cup, Adidas Football has created a remarkable advertising campaign to promote the official match ball, the Brazuca. The ad features internationally notable soccer players including Lionel Messi, Thomas Muller, and Van Persie, and it utilizes CGI (computer-generated imagery) effects to display the stadium and the audience.

The “I am Brazuca” advertisement successfully kicked off the World Cup campaign for Adidas through energetic camera angle techniques. The director applies a 360-degree panoramic camera angles to show the action of the Brazuca from its point of view, portraying the ball as almost another player. Through the subjective perspective of the ball, viewers can vicariously feel the dynamics of a World Cup soccer match, hear the screams of avid fans, and experience the techniques of world-class players. Even the audio effectively captures the 360-degree movement of the ball, as the viewers can hear different sounds, depending on the position or the speed at which the ball is traveling. This camera angle technique significantly increases the viewers’ interaction and engagement with the advertisement.

Furthermore, the video effectively utilizes the cause-and-effect montage. The director portrays the Brazuca as a means to achieve mastery in soccer.  Throughout the advertisement, we also see ordinary Brazilian boys simultaneously playing soccer on the streets and the field as the World Cup players are playing in the stadium. The only thing connecting the two scenes is the Brazuca, and it suggests that through the Brazuca, these ordinary boys are empowered to become the next generation of Messi or Van Persie.

While this action-packed advertisement makes use of dynamic and accelerated editing tactics to increase viewers’ excitement and enjoyment, it is important to note that heavy editing of athletics often obscures performance. The ad makes rapid cuts along with fast paced background music. This makes even the actual performance of the players seem less reliable and therefore can result in diminished overall persuasiveness.

Adidas Football Ad: “I am Brazuca” 


Clip that shows CGI effects of the Brazuca Ad



John Lewis Christmas Advert 2014 – #MontyThePenguin

John Lewis has recently released its new Christmas advert called Monty The Penguin. The advert tells the story of a boy and his best friend, Monty. The main message is to give someone the gift they’ve been dreaming of this Christmas.

The advert uses computer-generated images (CGI) to create Monty. The use of CGI helps audiences to perceive unrealistic objects in a photorealistic way. We all know that a penguin cannot be kept at home. Not only does using CGI enable audiences to imagine Monty being part of the boy’s life, but also makes them have a positive impression of John Lewis, as it spares living animals the stress of being used as living props. The movement of Monty also makes it more realistic such as the way he swims and eats. Since the environment is not formulated through CGI, Monty’s movement is further enhanced as realistic and perceivable. Another good point about the ad is that it does not employ high or low angle to indicate the status of the boy and the penguin. This shows that their friendship is not dictated by the fact that they are of different species.

Even though the ad touches the emotional side of consumers, I think that it would be difficult for first-time viewer of the ad to know that this ad is associated with John Lewis. The reason is there is no brand registration set early so this ad can be associated with any other department stores.



Ben and Jerry’s Frozen Yogurt Skiing (CGI)


This Ben and Jerry’s advertisement features a dynamic juxtaposition of computer-generated animations with filming of the human hand.  The combination and confusion of these two elements can improve recall by embedding the commercial in the viewers’ memory given that there is an increase in elaboration.  The absurdity of the figures skiing and climbing up strawberries that have come out of this carton enhances the recall as well.  Beyond effectively evoking recall, this advertisement is also successful in its use of digital animation.  The expressions of the individuals are believable regardless of the fact that the viewer understands that the figures are not real people.  The object’s shape and interaction with light and movement within its environment are persuasive.  Beyond the objects, the shape of the environment is also convincing. The viewers’ reaction to the objects and the environment is also enhanced through low camera angles that are used to assert power while also placing the viewer in the perspective of the skiers.  Beyond dynamic changes in camera angle, the music also contributes to the advertisement.  While the audio is not synced to the cuts, it is used as a device to successfully engage and excite the viewer.  Finally, this advertisement also uses montage to enrich the viewers’ experience and attitude towards the product.  The frozen yogurt is conceptually related to fluffy snow and strawberries are depicted as mountains, which is known as conceptual analogy.  This technique successfully connects the viewers’ attention back to the pint of yogurt and generates a positive association with the product.

Nike Does CGI


In this World Cup advertisement, Nike uses CGI to show that risky soccer is better than safe soccer.  The commercial highlights the matchup between soccer stars and their scientifically “perfect” clones.  In order to defeat the clones, the players have to go off-script and get creative and risky. The real players give the viewer a stronger sense of perceived realism as they react to the calculated movements of the clones with creativity.  The real players move authentically and many quick cuts between their movements make the action exciting while still natural.  The increasingly fast-paced music matches and enhances the intensity of the action.  The actions of the clones are overly purposeful and unrealistic, such as, when many clones move as a group in unison and lean the same direction after a fake by a real player.

The commercial ends with the real players taking risks to beat the clones and the flashing slogan “Risk Everything.” This commercial acts as a critique on CGI and human nature.  People enjoy CGI because it allows designers to manipulate every detail to create figures and motion that mimic reality.  However, with CGI it is possible to lose aspects of human nature, including our flaws.  The real players in the commercial make less predictable movements and represent human motion.  However, the clones represent a potential downfall of CGI: that every motion becomes so calculated and controllable that realism decreases.  The human players are able to “risk everything,” creating a sense of vulnerability that makes them more realistic.

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