Thursday, May 6, 2010

Ads of the Damned: Scott Walker, "Brown Bag"

There's much more to like in Walker's second ad than there was in the first spot.

The most obvious detail that differentiates his ad from the last is the flat camera angle. Unlike the first spot, Walker is working on the same level as the audience and not looking down at them. If anything the camera might be positioned at a slightly high angle giving the audience the impression that they are looking down at Walker. It's tough to do this kind of shot without looking diminutive, but this piece pulls it off.

The kitchen is also a vast improvement over the living room. We couldn't help but feel like we were Walker's dog during the first spot and that he was about to break out into a "Who's a good boy -- you are! Now go fetch!" at any moment. The living room is where people entertain and show off, but the kitchen is far more intimate. It's where a family prepares. The only places more intimate in a home are the bathroom and the bedroom. This ad does a better job of creating a more intimate atmosphere in which Walker can operate.

Again, just like the first ad, there's a strong sense that Walker is projecting an image of a paternal figure -- the bread-winner getting ready to start his day: at one point he actually holds up something that looks like a sandwich in a plastic bag, but it really only looks like a few slices of wheat bread.

The camera moves nicely throughout the ad and creates the illusion that there's a lot more activity going on in the kitchen than just some dude standing around talking to a camera.

But the big reason why this ad is a significant improvement over the first is that Walker sells it better. He simply performs better. Check out the expression on his face when laments the state of Wisconsin's taxes:
That's a pretty effective facial expression, the kind of glance a parent gives a kid who's done something wrong and is in the process of owning up to it -- and just as he's taking about taxes in Wisconsin. It's a much more humanizing way of railing against something without blowing one's top at a tea party.

I still hate the music.

Final Grade: B-

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