THE STRUGGLING CREATIVE

Author: Brandon Butrick |

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At Photon, we make digital media. We make Web Video Production, San Francisco Commercial Production, corporate video… basically, we make short-form time-based visual marketing content. When a company comes to us with a need, it’s usually to sell something. They hire us to use our creative translation abilities, to turn a product and its value points into a video that communicates these points to an audience.

Often though, our SF Bay Area clients don’t know exactly how they want to communicate to their audience, they just know they have video production needs. And because they don’t work in short-form time-based visual marketing content on a regular basis, their initial ideas on how to reach their audience tend to be pretty straightforward. These ideas tend to be direct, explanatory, and based on a deep understanding of their product offerings. It’s our job to show them how their initial ideas can turn into entertaining media.

One of the most interesting (and challenging) aspects of commercial art is the constant push and pull between… commerce and art. We want to help our clients sell their products. But we also want to make good art.

Sometimes the best ideas, the ones most likely to launch a brand or product into the public’s attention, are the least obvious ones. Sometimes, on paper, a piece of marketing material looks like it doesn’t tell consumers anything. Sometimes though, that’s okay.

As creatives, it’s our job to make that case, the case for art in service of commerce.

Take, for example, this music video for Tom Lark’s new single.

On the surface level, the video doesn’t straightforwardly sell the music. It doesn’t feature the musician playing his music. It doesn’t even really directly relate to the lyrics of the song.

But what it does do is create a world that plays off genre conventions of the 60’s and 70’s. It pulls conventions from the heist movie, from the car chase scene, and then it lays those conventions bare and makes fun of them. It feels like a modern, self-reflective update on a classic formula. Which mirrors the emotional content of Tom Lark’s song. And, I think, simultaneously entertains the audience and makes them want to buy a record.

That, to me, is the epitome of great commercial art.



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