Don’t you hate how Kickstarter ruined the ukulele for all of us? I used to love that instrument. I never had an opinion about baby xylophones either but I do now–hate em. When I see b-roll of a busy bearded man, in a busy coffee shot, in a busy city accompanied by an upbeat ukulele, I see red. Red, because I eye-roll my corneas to the back of my head. Call me a hater but heck! Isn’t it a bit patronizing when a commercial tries to shoehorn you limp-wristed into the plot with bland visuals and the strum of four strings?
Nice try, Mr. Gosling. Before implying the inextricable shame we’ll feel without their product, using a name that lost a vowel near the end, each of these commercials ironically asks us–what if things could be different? Well, we’re better than that. And if it’s a sign that companies are catching on, the product visuals we’re starting to see more of focus on the product, the detail and the passion that goes into the product development process.
Cue the music (sans ukulele)! Let’s take a look at some examples of high production product animations that look like intros to Netflix originals.
I love these kinds of commercials. Especially ones that have cool auto-focus exploded views of product internals and design details. Ahhhh. They get me excited, I love the details and the technical execution but as an industrial designer who now works in VFX, I’m biased and not necessarily the main target audience for these products so I spoke to the team at CUM creative agency to ask what goes in the recipe.
Cristian Spagnuolo is a VFX supervisor at Cum. m + d, a creative agency that works out of Singapore and Australia. He was part of the team that created the commercials for Razer linked above. Cristian says these commercials perfectly reflect the Razer target customer: hardcore gamers. They want to see something exciting, powerful, and dynamic. He credits their success by adding a touch of magic with a strong technical side.
A strong technical side is a talking point in this. These commercials are a result of studying the target audience which describes a more technically affluent client base. Tan Wen Hao, co-founder of Cum. m + d explains precisely why it hits their demo and why we love them so much. “People love seeing how things work, and through that, they see the value in what they are paying for… you’re reminding your audience that you aren’t buying a simple peripheral, but rather, something much more valuable.” It is interesting to the viewer and an opportunity for Razer to show off all the effort that went into their products.
Gennaro Esposito, lead 3D artist for Razer’s commercials linked above and founder of Digital Shark, points out that product commercials like these are highly accurate because they are the stars of the show. Faking any details would silly because users would know.
From a design and engineering standpoint, these commercials show the thought and detail put into a product and give the user an appreciation of the process. One reason why we love process videos showing how something is made, whether completely handcrafted or concept sketch to CAD to CNC. The products are more than pretty pictures that have been eye-humped to exhaustion, and companies realizing this see the value in providing more detail in their product visuals. And, ya know, it’s a little bit of a subtle shout-out to the designers and engineers behind the scenes that make it all happen.
Have any good examples you’ve seen? Tired of ukuleles too? Share in the comments!