The importance of message

Here's a simple mechanic that makes video interactive, which definitely seems to be something consumers are interested in—great. A video plays and then changes somehow when you press a key on your keyboard… now where have I heard that before?

We most recently saw this used in an ad for Honda's Type R about a year ago. so it's nothing new—nothing rule-breaking—now. The ad was widely hailed as the coolest digital campaign around. In the Honda example, pressing 'R' during playback switched seamlessly between two films with two different stories: one of a dad picking up his kids; one of a getaway driver picking up some gangsters. The car and the driver were the same in both however, and both films looked almost exactly the same shot-for-shot, creating this idea of the driver living a double life. So one car = two cars, one driver = two drivers, two lives… the content was relevant and communicated a clear message.

And that's my problem with this HP example, it's not relevant to the brand or product and it doesn't deliver the message: "Bend the Rules". The main subject—a famous singer performing alone with her guitar is not exactly rule-bending, and nothing to do with computer-manufacturer. The illustrations are lovely—but nothing new, and probably made on a mac, not an HP. And the mechanic—though engaging—is not original so that doesn't bend the rules either. The message is not in the ad. It's a film about nothing! In this era where attention is currency, this is the last thing you want to do I think.

By all means borrow ideas from elsewhere as inspiration, but only if it fits your goal. I can't help but feeling the team behind this have just jumped on Honda's bandwagon because everyone said it was cool, and then forced it into their strategy afterwards. Square peg, round hole.

See what you think here