Doth The Song Make The Ad: Part One

This is a question I always seem to ask my self when I see an advert with a nice soundtrack; Do I like this advert because it’s genuinely good, do I like it because it has a brilliant soundtrack, or do I like it because the art direction, copy writing, and soundtrack compliment each other brilliantly?

In a slight variation to my ‘I like this ad’ posts, I’ll be showing you an advert (today it’s one that actually does belong on my ‘favourites’ list) with a cracking sound track, and I’ll be trying to work out if it’s watchable because it’s good, or if it’s watchable just because it’s nice on the ears. Let’s take a look shall we?

Well, I sort of mislead you there, because I know for a fact that this advert is awesome. It just so happens to have an absolutely stunning backing track too. It is of course, Audi’s R8 ‘The Slowest Car We’ve Ever Built’ TV ad by the agency, BBH.

There’s a few things that I really like about this ad, and I’d find it hard to understand why someone might not like it. The actual strategy behind the advert is fantastic. It’s something I sat opened mouth at, with the ‘damn, that’s bloody clever isn’t it’ though swimming around in my brain. ‘The slowest car we’ve ever built’. It’s just lovely isn’t it! It really sells the ‘handmade’ aspect of the car. With a quick Google I found out that 70 select engineers fit 5,000+ parts together individually, one by one, and can only turn over twenty five R8’s a day. That’s a press ad right there. It’s just a brilliant fact, and one that obviously inspired BBH to come up with that particular tag line.

The line works so brilliantly because it’s not trying to reference the car it self as slow, but rather that it’s the slowest car (the one that takes the longest to build because they labour over it so much) Audi have ever made. I may be explaining some basic English there, but you’d be amazed at how many people on youtube thought the tag line was misleading, and that it meant the R8 was genuinely the slowest car Audi have ever made. Sometimes I feel advertising is lost on those without a basic level of intelligence.

So we’ve already established that the strategy is slap-yourself-in-the-forehead-for-not-thinking-of-it-first brilliant, but it also helps that the ad is visually stunning. The camera work is faultless, and really adds to the feeling of the painstakingly meticulous workings of the engineers who put this car together. While the engineers in the ad are nothing but blurs, they still have some essence of ‘slowness’ about them because of the image dragging. Slowness is of course the wrong word to use in this context, but they’re obviously taking an insane amount of time to make sure each car is beautifully made, and it’s hard to find a word to describe it another way.

Then we come to the soundtrack. Another great ‘youtube debate’. Beep Beep by Simone White. It’s soft, it’s a little twee, has a lovely slow pace, and the artist mentions horns, cars and time. There’s nothing more you could ask for really! Granted it might be a bit cutesy, but Victoria used to wander around singing the song for days after watching the advert. It was an ad that she’d happily leave on. I would gush over how ball breakingly brilliant it was, and she got to listen to a nice song, and watch a beautifully shot advert. Definitely a win/win situation!

Obviously for my first entry in ‘Doth the song make the ad’, I appear to have chosen an all round great ad, but if you watch some of the re-scores on youtube, the advert falls apart;

The reason for this is quite obviously. The song chosen by BBH to accompany this ad lends it self brilliantly to the ‘hand-made’ aspect of the campaign. As I’ve stated the song is rather slow yet upbeat, and is made of a simple structure (metronome to acoustic guitar picking, accompanied by a lovely, yet a little husky, female voice), which makes it sound different from the average ‘pop’ song that’s been filtered through auto tune a couple of hundred times. It sounds like it’s the labour of love by the artist to perfectly hit every note, and reiterate her thoughts and feelings through repetition in the lyrics. It sounds, ‘handmade’, so to speak. It’s as if Simone White has spent as much time crafting her song as the engineers have spent putting the Audi R8 together, and for that reason I can conclude that while the song alone didn’t make the advert, it was actually an integral part to this campaign.

So, after all of that, doth the song make the ad? Yes and no really. It’s not the only reason the ad works, but it’s certainly important in the overall execution. I definitely don’t think the ad would have the same effect without Simone White’s ‘Beep Beep’, but would the ad work with another equally soft and twee backing track? Yes, it probably would, but it was Simone’s song that was chosen, not some one else’s. It’s an open ended discussion, but it’s a discussion for another day. Beep Beep works beautifully, and I’m quite happy to leave it at that.

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4 thoughts on “Doth The Song Make The Ad: Part One

  1. UglyDuck says:

    Incidentally, if I had know you were coming to London last month, I could have invited you to an address I don’t live at and given you quite an embarrassing situation! Especially if the person who answered the door was some 90 year old widow and you had to ask for me by username.

    • Ah, that old chestnut. I’ve seen it so many times, and I still don’t feel the need to off my self.

      Also, you wouldn’t have known I was coming to London because you ceremoniously culled me from your steam account with out any indication why. Lovely.

  2. UglyDuck says:

    That’s not true. It was completely unceremonious. I deleted everyone. Even people I’d known for years. It wasn’t personal, I just had to stop relying on IM and L4D and that’s more than the explanation that most people got which was “because fuck all y’all”.

  3. […] always wondered if music can make an advert, and I actually looked at it once before here. Clickity Click. That post was a much more detailed look at soundtracks in advertising, and probably much more […]

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